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SEPTEMBER 2017
THE MONTH’S HEADLINES
TOTAL OF 26 EDITIONS PUBLISHED
(Story numbers 11328-11458)


Click below to access each individual edition listed below
 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 2,238

Monday, 4 September 2017

 

• Players to oust match-fixing approaches on social media [PTG 2238-11328].

• Suspect detained, bailed, in ‘The Oval’ crossbow case [PTG 2238-11329].

Players to oust match-fixing approaches on social media.

Chip Le Grand.

The Australian.

Monday, 4 September 2017.

PTG 2238-11328.

The social media accounts of Australia’s top cricketers have become a frontline in the war against match-fixing, with illegal betting syndicates targeting the ‘Facebook’, ‘Instagram' and ‘WhatsApp' accounts of Test and Twenty20 stars to elicit inside information.

All members of Australia’s current touring squad to Bangladesh have been instructed to screen shot suspicious online approaches from unfamiliar accounts — particularly those sent from the subcontinent or Middle East countries where illegal betting on cricket is a multi-billion-dollar enterprise — and provide them to anti-corruption authorities to help detect and prosecute criminal gambling rings.

Information about suspicious approaches, once forwarded to Cricket Australia’s (CA) integrity team, can be cross-checked with the ­intelligence holdings of the International Cricket Committee (ICC) and other national cricket boards, the Australian government’s National ­Integrity of Sport Unit, the Australian Criminal Intelligence Com­mission and Interpol.

CA’s senior manager for integrity, Iain Roy, says ­although many of the approaches to players are benign, the ICC has a growing data base of suspect social media accounts and mobile phone numbers that has been used to ­expose criminal operators. Roy said that “Increasingly, we are getting players having conversations with us about these ubiquitous online approaches. Players in Australia are really clued in. If someone from the United Arab Emirates, someone from Pakistan or someone from India sends them a ‘ hatsApp' message, they will just screen-shot it and send it on to us and we put it into our intelligence”.

The cricketer’s active response to the threat of match-fixing is part of a broader shift in international sport, where athletes are expected not only to resist approaches by suspicious parties but report them to anti-corruption authorities.  “That is the most important thing”, said Severin Moritzer, chief executive of the Vienna-based ­Association for Protecting the ­Integrity of Sport. “It doesn’t help to reject an offer and not report it. That is one of the core elements we cover in our education seminars when we talk to athletes”.

Australia’s touring squad to Bangladesh was briefed on the risks posed by offshore bookies and criminal networks — and their responsibility to report suspicious approaches — at the training camp in Darwin last month.  Roy said cricket’s anti-­corruption measures were strongly focused on the shortest form of the game, with Twenty20 competitions such as Australia’s Big Bash League (BBL) ­attracting the most interest on legal and illegal betting markets.

The Indian Premier League (IPL), the Bangladesh Premier League, the Pakistan Super League and the Ram Slam in South Africa have all been hit with match and spot-fixing scandals, leading to the suspension of nine international cricketers on corruption charges.

Twenty20 batsmen David Hussey said suspicious social media approaches prompted him to close most of his social media accounts. “That is part of the reason I got off Facebook and all other social media bar Twitter”, he said.  “I didn’t want these untoward approaches”.  Hussey said the approaches, which he received in 2008 during his involvement in the newly formed IPL, included requests for information about pitch conditions, team selections and whether his team intended to bowl or bat. 

Figures provided to CA by Australia’s licensed corporate bookmakers show that the growth of legal betting on BBL matches has reached a plateau after years of strong growth. Total betting on all matches last austral summer was $A128 million (£UK78.7 m), about $A3.6 m (£UK2.2 m) a match and little changed from the previous year. In the 2014-15 summer, the corresponding figure was $A72 m (£UK44.3 m). This does not include turnover on betting exchanges such as ‘Betfair', which distort the true size of the legal betting market.  Interpol estimates that for every dollar bet legally on a cricket match, about ten are punted on the black market. This means conservatively that $A1 billion (£UK615 m) is likely to be bet on the coming season's BBL series.

CA’s defence against these integrity threats, particularly to BBL matches, is multifaceted. As well as telling players to report any suspicious approaches, it conducts background checks on overseas players contracted to play in the BBL and employs observers at all matches to detect people paid by provide information quicker than bookmakers can adjust their odds.

Suspect detained, bailed, in ‘The Oval’ crossbow case.

PTG Editor.

Monday, 4 September 2017.

PTG 2238-11329.

A man has been arrested after a crossbow bolt was fired into The Oval whilst a game was underway last Thursday.  A 35-year-old was held on suspicion of attempted grievous bodily harm in relation to the incident in which an arrow landed close to players and umpires during a county championship match between Surrey and Middlesex.  Play was abandoned and spectators, which numbered just over one thousand, were evacuated, but there were no reports of injuries.  Images published at the time showed umpire Paul Baldwin holding the pink-coloured bolt, and armed police attended the scene.  

The suspect has been released on bail pending further enquiries and the police are appealing for any witnesses to come forward, especially if they have any video footage.  Detective Constable Dominic Landragin said: "There were significant crowds watching the match and it is likely that a number of those present will have footage of the incident that could assist in our investigation.  Although nobody was injured, this was a reckless action taken with no regard for the safety and well-being of the spectators or the players”.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 2,239

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

 

• Five-year IPL broadcast rights sold for a $A3.2 billion [PTG 2239-11330].

• Deliberate ’no ball’ ends match, generates ire [PTG 2239-11331].

• Richardson named as World XI series ’neutral' [PTG 2239-11332].

• Need spinner, ignore ban [PTG 2239-11333].

• Eden Park gets approval for day-night Test [PTG 2239-11334].

Five-year IPL broadcast rights sold for a $A3.2 billion.

Reuters.

Monday 4 September 2017.

PTG 2239-11330.

Star India, an Indian media and entertainment company owned by United states entity 21st Century Fox, will pay 163.48 billion Rupees ($A3.21 bn, £UK1.97bn) for the television and digital rights of the Indian Premier League (IPL) over the next five years, the country’s cricket board announced on Monday.  Sony, the only other bidder for the television rights of the world’s richest domestic Twenty20 competition, offered 110.5 bn Rupees ($A2.17 bn, £UK1.33 bn) but lost out to Star’s consolidated offer for the worldwide rights from 2018-22. It means that, for the first time, the broadcast rights for a single IPL match are worth more than an India home international.

Bidders for digital rights included ‘Supersport', ‘Facebook', ‘Airtel’, ‘Bamtech' and ‘Jio'. Of the 24 companies that bought the tender document, 14 made bids.  Star India chief executive Uday Shankar said his company believes "the IPL is a very powerful property, and we believe there is lots more value that can be created for fans of cricket on digital and TV.  India, cricket and IPL have changed dramatically since 2008, and this bid is a reflection of that”.

It also reflects the world’s second most populous nation’s obsession with cricket, especially the 20-over format, despite a spot-fixing scandal in 2013 which led to the ban of several players and two-year suspensions of two IPL teams.  US businessman Rupert Murdoch’s Star group also owns broadcast rights for 18 global events the International Cricket Council is to hold during the eight-year cycle from 2015 and India’s international matches at home.  India’s huge market is a major draw for sponsors and advertisers, who often plan product launches around major cricket tournaments and book advertising slots in advance.

Deliberate ’no ball’ ends match, generates ire.

PTG Editor

Tuesday, 5 September 2017.

PTG 2239-11331.

Media commentators and the social media tribe have accused Barbados Trindents bowler Kieron Pollard of inappropriate conduct during the final group match of this year’s Caribbean Premier League series in Barbados on Sunday.  With opponents the St Kitts and Nevis Patriots requiring one run to win off the game’s final ball, and batsman Evin Lewis not out 97 and looking for a boundary to bring up his century, Pollard overstepped significantly, reportedly deliberately, for good measure bouncing the batsman to ensure he had little chance of getting bat on ball.  The call of ‘no ball’ of course  instantly ended the game.

Umpires Johan Cloete and Leslie Reifer could under the current Laws only call Pollard’s ‘no ball’, but when the new Code comes into force next month they and other umpires will also clearly have the responsibility in such a circumstance to report the bowler for his deliberate ’no ball’ (PTG 2102-10654, 12 April 2017).  Had it been any ball but the last of St Kitts innings they would also be required, under the new Law 41.8, to remove Pollard from the Barbados attack for the remainder of the innings.  

 

The Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) said in releasing the new Code earlier this year that removing and reporting the bowler had been added to the new Code because a bowler who deliberately runs through the crease before releasing the ball closer to the striker than allowed "can be very dangerous" and as such "deserved a harsh punishment”. No mention was made by the MCC of the deliberate bowling of ‘no balls’ for some nefarious reason such as ‘spot-fixing’, as has occurred in the past, on one occasion right under the noses of MCC members at Lord’s (PTG 661-3263, 31 August 2010).

Sri Lankan offspinner Suraj Randiv attracted attention for a similar act during a One Day International (ODI) in Dambulla in 2010, when he bowled a no-ball to deny India’s Virender Sehwag, on 99, a century as India won the game.  Sri Lanka Cricket subsequently banned Randiv for one ODI over the incident, a move that was applauded by the International Cricket Council at the time (PTG 656-3249, 20 August 2010).

Richardson named as World XI series ’neutral'.

PTG Editor

Tuesday, 5 September 2017.

PTG 2239-11332.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) has appointed Richie Richardson of the West Indies, its most junior match referee, to oversee the three Twenty20 Internationals (T20I) Pakistan is to play against a World XI in Lahore next week. Richardson is likely to have a panel of four umpires from Pakistan to work with during the series, Elite Umpire Panel member Aleem Dar who will by then have completed his duties during there current Bangladesh-Australia Tests, plus International Umpire Panel members Ahsan Raza, Shozab Raza and Ahmad Shahab.  Richardson goes into the series with 18 T20Is as a referee, while Dar currently leads the world T20I umpires’ list with 41 such games, the two Razas have each stood in 23, and Shahab 5.

Need spinner, ignore ban.

PTG Editor

Tuesday, 5 September 2017.

PTG 2239-11333.

New South Wales spinner Stephen O’Keefe may have been banned from playing for his state in Cricket Australia's (CA) domestic one-day tournament next month over a serious disciplinary issue earlier this year, but that censure was not enough to bar him for being selected to again play for his country in the second Test against Bangladesh which got underway in Chittagong on Monday.  

Reports say the ban, which was handed down in April by Cricket NSW (CNSW) and is effectively for 6-8 matches, also included a fine of $A20,000 (£UK12,085), and the requirement that he undertake "further appropriate counselling”.  Those penalties came as a result of an “ugly slur directed at a female player” and abuse of others present whilst under the influence of alcohol at a CNSW “official” sponsors function (PTG 2099-10638, 8 April 2017).  Six months before that CA itself fined O’Keefe $A10,000 for another alcohol-related incident (PTG 1895-9505, 9 August 2016).

Eden Park gets approval for day-night Test.

PTG Editor

Monday, 28 August 2017.

PTG 2239-11334.

The first Test of next austral summer’s series between New Zealand and England in late March will be played under lights following Eden Park's successful application for resource consent from the Auckland Council (PTG 2209-11180, 22 July 2017).  The fixture today received the blessing of an independent panel of commissioners, and now looms as one of the highlights of NZ's 2017-18 austral  cricketing summer.

New Zealand Cricket (NZC) chief operating officer Anthony Crummy was delighted with the approval, saying the day-night timeframe would make the Test more accessible for fans – many of whom would not otherwise be able to attend or watch.  “NZC has a particular focus on improving access to cricket for everyone”, said Crummy. “Being able to stage the Test as a day-nighter is a significant step in the right direction.  This means we can promote cricket in its most modern and vibrant incarnation; we can improve accessibility for new audiences, and we can showcase Eden Park, Auckland and New Zealand to a truly global audience”.

Worldwide, only five day-night Tests have so far been played, three of which were staged in Australia, one in the United Arab Emirates and the other in England last month  Crummy said Test cricket was facing increasingly challenging times in terms of relevance and context, and this was being borne out by crowd numbers, viewership ratings and broadcast right values.  “This a very important outcome for Test cricket lovers in New Zealand – simply because it allows us the opportunity to play the game at a time when more people can engage with it.  We’re sure it will be a very successful event, and that English and New Zealand fans alike will make the most of the opportunity”.

Hours of play for the Day-Night Test sessions are expected to be from 2-4 p.m., 4.20-6.20 p.m. and 7-9 p.m.  Astronomical tables show that the sun will set close to 7.30 p.m. whilst the Test is being played. 

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 2,240

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

 

• ‘Deliberate loss’ means team ensures championship win [PTG 2240-11335].

• Invercargill scorer wins annual NZCUSA award [PTG 2240-11336].

• ICC Umpire Coach conducts referees' course in Oman [PTG 2240-11337].

• CA holds its inaugural Umpire High Performance Workshop [PTG 2240-11338].

• Sri Lanka to play its first day-night Test [PTG 2240-11339].

• How does IPL’s mammoth TV deal compare to other sports? [PTG 2240-11340].

• Rights deal means IPL wages are set to soar [PTG 2240-11341].

• On-field offences result in fine for Bangladesh opener [PTG 2240-11342].

• CSA expect loss of 159 m Rand for 2016-17 [PTG 2240-11342].

• Cricket set to miss 2022 Commonwealth Games [PTG 2240-11344].

‘Deliberate loss’ means team ensures championship win.

PTG Editor.

Tuesday, 5 September 2017.

PTG 2240-11335.

A team won the Pembroke County Cricket League’s (PCCL) Division 1 competition for 2017 in late August by deliberately losing the final match of the season against their only rivals for the title.   As a result the Pembroke County Cricket Club (PCCC), which runs the game locally, has launched a disciplinary investigation into the circumstances involved, even though they are said to admit no specific rules appear to have been broken.

Teams from Carew and Cresselly in south-west Wales went into the final day of the season with Carew 21 points clear at the top of the league table in what was a 'title-deciding’ fixture.  Carew batted first in the one-day game but declared their innings closed after facing 15 balls when on 1/18, there being no prohibition in PCCL playing conditions, as there are in many other limited over leagues around the world, to such an action.  

Cresselly then batted and won the match with a six to end on 1/24, thus earning the standard PCCL 20 championship points for a win while Carew received none.  As a result Carew finished the season on top of the Division 1 table on 377 points with Cresselly second just a solitary point behind on 376.  Carew’s tactic of declaring for such a low score was designed to give their opponents the 20 points, but not allow them to earn either batting or bowling bonus points as allowed under PCCL rules.

Those rules mean that one batting bonus point is earned when a team scores its first 40 runs, then further bonus points for every additional 40 runs up to a maximum of five, or for 200 runs.  On the bowling side one point is given to a team for every two wickets it takes up to a maximum of five when they dismiss all their opponent’s batsmen.  During the season as a whole, Carew accumulated 114 bonus points and Cresselly 120.  As they were only able to take one wicket and score 24 runs in the "championship decider", no bonus points were available to them in that match.

PCCC secretary Steve Blowes has indicated that Cresselly, who a media report said were "very disappointed" and felt "hard done by" over Carew's tactics in the game, would give its views to the disciplinary committee.  An official from the runners-up said Carew's decision to "deliberately lose" the game was "at odds with their title of champions”.  In a statement Carew said they would not comment further because of "coverage of this matter in some sections of the media". But they added somewhat defiantly: "We stand together”.  The most serious sanction that could be handed to Carew is said by one report to be "expulsion from the league", but options "also include a fine up to £UK500 ($A810), or a reprimand”. 

This being cricket, there’s a precedent, and it doesn’t bode well for Carew. It was in the 1979 county one-day series, writes Andy Bui of ’The Guardian'. At the end of the group stage, Somerset were bound to qualify for the quarter-finals so long as they maintained their batting strike rate (which was used as a tie-break between teams who had the same number of points). In their last match against Worcestershire, Somerset’s captain Brian Rose won the toss, batted, declared after a single over with the score 0/1 and that being a ’no ball’.  Worcestershire took ten balls to score the two it needed for a win.

Rose had checked with the authorities whether he was allowed to do this, and was told that while the declaration was legal, it would still cause “repercussions”.  These turned out to be rather more severe than Rose imagined. He was pilloried for “plumbing the depths” by the ‘London Daily Telegraph', and accused of “exploiting the laws” by 'The Guardian'. At the subsequent disciplinary board meeting Somerset, who had topped their Group, were found guilty of “bringing the game into disrepute” and even their own chairman voted to expel them from the competition, which they were. 

Invercargill scorer wins annual NZCUSA award.

Jamie Searle.

The Southland Times.

Saturday, 2 September 2017.

PTG 2240-11336.

Invercargill’s Kirsty Sands was named as the New Zealand Cricket Umpire and Scorer Association’s (NZCUSA) scorer of the year during its recent annual conference in Hamilton.  Sands is the sixth recipient of the award, Helen Simpson from Otago being the inaugural winner in 2012, Ian Smith of Wellington in 2013, Euan West from Canterbury in 2014, Bev Baker of Central Districts in 2015 and Otago’s Malcolm Jones last year (PTG 1909-9579, 27 August 2016).

Sands was nominated for the award, without her knowing, by 2016 winner Jones who is the Otago-Southland regional scoring manager.  He says she he is a worthy recipient and her selection recognises her dedication to cricket and “It's a just reward for the hard work she puts in”.   Southland Cricket general manager Jason Domigan says Sands is an asset to the sport and “it's great she's won the award”.  Sands says Jones has been a big help to her career.  "He's got an incredible wealth of knowledge and is only a phone call away”.

Sands has been a scorer for ten years and is qualified to officiate at international games. The most important match she has supported was the England versus New Zealand A in Queenstown four years ago.  "It was a four-day game and all the Test players for England were playing. It was a different level of cricket”, said Sands.

She believes though she is unlikely to score in a Test match because she doesn't live in a metropolitan city where they are held.  "There's 10 or 12 [scorers in Dunedin] who could do a Test match”, she says, but it doesn't worry her because she get enjoyment from officiating at all other levels.  "I love the game and want to be part of it.  Cricket people seemed to be special, genuine and like-minded”.  Jones believes though the chances of Sands being selected for a Test are high, saying "I'm sure she'll get a crack at it”.

Sands remembers her school days in Christchurch watching her father, David Lees, follow radio and television coverage of cricket games.  "I couldn't understand the game [back then]”, Sands said.  That changed when she was 17. The West Indies team was in New Zealand at the time and their flamboyant style of play grabbed her attention.  She wanted to give cricket a go.  A work colleague of her father played for Burnside West University Cricket Club and arranged for Sands to join a team there.  She played cricket as a fast bowler for 15 years before finishing in the late 1990s and moving to Invercargill.

In 2007, when encouraging her son, Xavier, to play cricket, she got the urge to get involved again.  She contacted Southland umpires and scorers head Allan Faithful, and discussions led to her becoming a scorer for the Invercargill Old Boys Cricket Club for whom she still scores.  Unlike his mother, Xavier decided after two seasons that cricket wasn't the sport for him.

Next January will be a busy month for Sands, because she is scoring at New Zealand Cricket’s national Under-17 men's tournament in Auckland and two women's competitions in Christchurch, as well as five games at the men's Under-19 World Cup in Queenstown in January and February.  "The World Cup is a good opportunity for scorers on the rise”, Jones says. 

ICC Umpire Coach conducts referees' course in Oman.

`PTG Editor.

Tuesday, 5 September 2017.

PTG 2240-11337.

International Cricket Council Umpire Coach David Levens conducted a course for match referees in Oman last month as one part of Oman Cricket’s (OC) push to improve the overall standard of the game in the Middle Eastern country.  During the coming season, which is due to get underway on Friday, OC is introducing match referees to its Premier and A Division competitions, one of a number of steps that are aimed at raising the country’s profile as a cricket nation as well as preparing the national players for international assignments.

Eleven people are reported to have taken part in the referee’s course, full details of which are not available, according to OC’s Duleep Mendis, Head Coach and Chief Development Officer.  He indicated: “David was very pleased that OC has started [introducing match referees] as part of moves aimed at strengthening domestic leagues”.  In addition, a full-fledged cricket academy with international standard facilities is likely to open in Al Amerat in December.  The seven-lane indoor facility will have two lanes dedicated to fast bowlers, another two specifically for spinners and the remaining three for normal batting practice.

Oman will be participating in the World Cricket League (WCL) Division Two series early next year and then in qualifiers for the 2019 World Cup and OC wants its team to be better prepared for both competitions.  “We want our players to get accustomed to the playing conditions, higher levels of discipline and WCL rules. All these steps and developments are aimed at achieving exactly that”, said Mendis.

CA holds its inaugural Umpire High Performance Workshop.

PTG Editor.

Tuesday, 5 September 2017.

PTG 2240-11338.

Cricket Australia (CA) held its inaugural Umpire High Performance Workshop last weekend at its National Cricket Centre in Brisbane.  CA has indicated the program was run by National Umpire Coach Ian Lock and Umpire Education Manager Bob Parry, the focus being "on preparation for officiating at the Elite Level”.   A "wide range of areas” were covered during the four-day course, including "TV Umpiring, Communication, Psychology, Nutrition, Field of Vision, Match Preparation and Season Planning". The attendees also took part in practical net sessions with Australia's National Indigenous Squad who were in Brisbane preparing for the season.

Six of the twelve selected for the workshop are members of CA’s second-tier Development Panel (DP): Darren Close; Nathan Johnstone; Donovan Koch; Claire Polosak; David Shepard and Ben Treloar, with Polosak and Shepard also being members of CA’s Project Panel (PTG 2159-10952, 9 June 2017).  The others were National Umpire Panel members Simon Lightbody and Anthony Wilds, plus the DP fringe group of Stephen Brne, Anthony Hobson, David Taylor and Troy Penman.  

Other than subject headings, no other details of the new course, which is effectively a Level 3 qualification, have yet been made public, although CA’s ‘Cricket Umpires Australia’ web page has been making clear for months that participation is “by invitation only”. 

Sri Lanka to play its first day-night Test.

PTG Editor.

Tuesday, 5 September 2017.

PTG 2240-11339.

Sri Lanka will play its first day-and-night Test match later this month when they meet Pakistan for a two-match series in the United Arab Emirates.  They will also play five One Day Internationals and two Twenty20 Internationals (T20I) in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah, with a third T20I to be played in Lahore, Pakistan, "subject to security clearance”.  "The exact itinerary will be released shortly”, said a Sr Lankan official on Tuesday.  

The Sri Lanka Cricket board has approved the potential T20I visit to Lahore eight years after a terrorist attack against the team brought top international games there to a standstill (PTG 380-2021, 4 March 2009).  A World XI is to play three T20Is in Lahore next week, and like it should the Sri Lankan side end up actually visiting Lahore a neutral match referee will need to be appointed by the International Cricket Council (PTG 2239-11332, 5 September 2017).

Pakistan successfully staged the final of the its Pakistan Super League Twenty20 series in Lahore in March under heavy security, that one-off game being played without incident (PTG 2068-10470, 8 March 2017).  In recent years the Pakistan Cricket Board has invited several foreign teams but have only succeeded in hosting Zimbabwe, Kenya and Afghanistan. The country’s cricket governing body said Ireland and the West Indies were also willing to tour but cancelled their plans following bomb blasts on both occasions.

How does IPL’s mammoth TV deal compare to other sports?

Nicholas Godden.

The Times.

Tuesday, 5 September 2017.

PTG 2240-11340.

The Indian Premier League's (IPL) new five-year global television and digital rights will earn Indian cricket more than $A10.5 million (£UK6.5 m) per match - just shy of the value of that for an England  Premier League (EPL) football game, but still well short of a day of action at the Olympics.  The new broadcast agreement means that a single IPL match is more valuable to Indian television broadcasters than a home international for the India cricket team (PTG 2239-11330, 5 September 2017).

EPL games currently come in at $A11.7 m (£UK7.2 m) per match under the current rights deal which runs for three years 2016-19.  The television rights for the 2015-18 cycle of the European Champions League, that continent’s premier football competition, sees its organisers receive about $A28.8 m (£UK17.75 m) for each game.  Higher up the world scale, matches in the Football World Cup finals all attract $A46.9 m (£UK28.9 m), but the Olympics outstrip even that at around ($A190 m (£UK117 m) per day of competition.

Rights deal means IPL wages are set to soar.

Martyn Ziegler.

The Times.

Tuesday, 5 September 2017.

PTG 2240-11341.

Cricketers are set to rival footballers as sport’s super-rich after the Indian Premier League (IPL) secured a staggering £UK1.97 billion ($A3.2 bn) media deal that could lead to players earning close to £UK10 m ($A16.3 m) for a six-week stint in the competition.  The new five-year deal won by Star India is a 400 per cent rise on the previous deal with Sony and propels the world’s richest Twenty20 competition onto a new financial level, with each match commanding near the same media value as a football match in England’s Premier League (PTG 2240-11340 above).

Ben Stokes, the Durham all-rounder, became the highest-paid English cricketer of all time this year when he won a £UK1.7 million ($A2.8 m) deal to play for the IPL’s Rising Pune Supergiant. Stokes’s deal was the second-biggest auction sale after the £UK1.9 m ($A3.1 m) paid for India’s Yuvraj Singh two years ago.  Yet even that sum is set to be dwarfed at the next IPL auction, which usually takes place each February, with the teams’ income expected to have risen fivefold.

The IPL clashes with the first six weeks  of the English county season and England players who take part in it have to repay a percentage of their central contracts for every day they are away in India, but that is a fraction of what they will now stand to earn.   The England and Wales Cricket Board (EWCB) is understood not to be worried about any increased impact on the start of the season, but a concern is whether the huge new deal will persuade the Board of Control of Cricket in India to resurrect the idea of a mini-IPL at another time of the year, possibly in September (PTG 1878-9412, 16 July 2016).

On-field offences result in fine for Bangladesh opener.

PTG Editor.

Tuesday, 5 September 2017.

PTG 2240-11342.

Bangladesh opener Tamim Iqbal was fined 15 per cent of his match fee and handed one demerit point for two separate offences during his side’s first Test against Australia in Dhaka last week.  His first offence occurred in the morning session of day four, when he objected to the regular changing of gloves of Australia's batsmen, a situation that saw him engaged in an ongoing dialogues with umpires Nigel Llong and Aleem Dar about the matter. Shortly thereafter he gave Australian batsman Matthew Wade a 'send off', gesturing towards the pavilion after  his dismissal.

Tamim later admitted the offence and accepted the sanction proposed by match referee Jeff Crowe and, as such, there was no need for a formal hearing.  The charge was levelled by on-field umpires Dar and Llong, third umpire Ian Gould, and fourth umpire Anisur Rahman.

The 28-year-old spoke out during the Test match about the state of the Dhaka pitch, suggesting it wasn't aligned with the grassy wickets regularly found in Bangladesh's first-class competition. "The wicket is unpredictable - anything can happen”, Tamim said of the Dhaka surface. "My question is, how many times do we get to play in these wickets in domestic cricket?  We only play on these wickets in international matches, because it gives us an advantage over the foreign side”.

CSA expect loss of 159 m Rand for 2016-17.

Cricinfo.

Monday, 4 September 2017.

PTG 2240-11343.

Cricket South Africa (CSA) announced an anticipated loss of around 159 million Rand ($A15.4 m, £UK9.5 m) for the 2016-17 financial year, during its annual general meeting on Saturday, but president Chris Nenzani stressed that the board remains in a healthy financial position and is expected to recover income with two high-profile home series over the coming austral summer.

CSA stated that the decrease - their actual revenue of 696 m Rand ($A67.4 m, £UK41.4 m) for 2016-17 is considerably less than the 851 million  ($A82.4 m, £UK50.7 m)  from the previous financial year - was expected due to "less commercially productive inbound tours”.  Nenzani, however, was confident of money flowing in with tours of Australia and India scheduled for the home season. Australia will travel to South Africa in March for a four-Test series, after India's visit. However, the fixtures and dates for the India tour are yet to be determined.  Both tours are expected to generate high television revenue.

"In commenting on the financial statements I would like to stress that CSA remains in a very healthy financial position”, Nenzani said. "We have a very strong balance sheet and a favourable cash position. Our income balance after taking into account the loss for the year is 655 m Rand ($A63.4 m, £UK39 m).  We have invested in major capital projects to grow the game of cricket and we are also in the process of building our own headquarters which will be a significant money-saving project in the long term".

CSA is also set to receive a cash injection of one million Rand ($A96,840, £UK59,580) from the South African government, for its Hubs and Regional Performance Center programs, in addition to the funds it receives from the Department of Sport and Recreation.

Cricket set to miss 2022 Commonwealth Games.

George Dobell.

Cricinfo.

Monday, 4 September 2017.

PTG 2240-11344.

Plans to include cricket in the Commonwealth Games of 2022 have been abandoned (PTG 1877-9406, 19 July 2016).  While women's cricket was originally set to be included when the event was awarded to Durban, the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) is determined to achieve 'gender parity' and is reluctant to include disciplines which will not be contested by both men and women.

Now, with Durban having surrendered its right to host the Games and the International Cricket Council (ICC) still deliberating whether they want men's cricket to be included, it appears the sport has run out of time.  The 2022 Games is scheduled for July-August, meaning it would clash with the Twenty20 Caribbean Premier League’s time slot, the new-team domestic T20 competition in England, and an international tour of England by India. As a result, several Full Member nations within the ICC were far from convinced of the virtues of involvement in the Commonwealth Games.

The news suggests cricket's involvement in the Olympics is still some way distant; involvement in the Commonwealth Games had been seen as a step in that direction.  Cricket is not currently one of the mandatory events incorporated into the Commonwealth Games. But it is on the list of optional sports that host cities can add to their staging of the event, along with the support of the relevant sport's governing body.

England did not send a team on the only previous time cricket was included in the Commonwealth Games in Malaysia in September 1998. A decision on where the 2022 Games will be staged is expected to be announced shortly. Birmingham, who had previously suggested they were keen to include cricket among the sports contested, and Liverpool, are among the cities keen to host, but there are also bids from Malaysia and Australia.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 2,241

Thursday, 7 September 2017

 

• Lara ‘truly embarrassed’ by antics of ‘great' West Indies teams [PTG 2241-11345].

• CPL to ‘review' Pollard 'no ball’ [PTG 2241-11346].

• Long-serving scorer awarded NZCUSA Life Membership [PTG 2241-11347].

• Angry crowd vents ire, holds up play in ODI [PTG 2241-113489].

• India’s domestic players still awaiting bulk of 2016-17 season pay [PTG 2241-11349].

• CSA forging ahead with ‘transformation' plans [PTG 2241-11350].

• ‘Language’ issues see Windies, England, pair reprimanded [PTG 2241-11351].

• Rain plays spoilsport for India’s cricket insurers [PTG 2241-11352].

Lara ‘truly embarrassed’ by antics of ‘great' West Indies teams.

Elizabeth Ammon.

The Times.

Wednesday, 6 September 2017.

PTG 2241-11345.

Former West Indian captain Brian Lara has said that he was “truly embarrassed” at times by the behaviour of some of the great West Indies sides of the 1980s and 1990s.  Lara delivered the annual Marylebone Cricket Club 'Spirit of Cricket Cowdrey Lecture' at Lord’s on Monday evening, and as well as speaking about the decline of West Indies cricket and his pride at their recent unexpected win at Headingley, he used the occasion to say how he felt the game should be played.

Lara said that he felt that the dominant West Indies sides of the 1980s and early 1990s sometimes employed tactics that he did not approve of, resulting in them “playing the game in a way it should never, ever be played”.  Referring to the West Indies series against New Zealand in 1980, Lara said: “I grew up at a time when West Indies dominated the world. For 15 years from 1980, West Indies never lost a Test series. Then Colin Croft decided he was going to take a piece out of umpire Fred Goodall’s shoulder by running into him during a Test match.  Around that time Michael Holding decided he was no longer a cricketer, he was a footballer, and he kicked a stump. I’m sure the occurrences during that period had a big effect on cricket”.

The former batsman also admitted that he found events during their series against England in 1990 “disturbing”, especially the Test in Trinidad, which was umpired by Lloyd Barker of Barbados and Clyde Cumberbatch from Trinidad and Tobago, when England were set a modest score to chase but delaying tactics by West Indies meant that they ran out of time.  “This was maybe the most embarrassing moment for me as a young West Indian, watching the team time-wasting. I think we bowled seven overs in one hour”, he said. “It was really embarrassing. I was the 12th man so I was very guilty, I was running out with lacing, bananas, water, cough tablets, all sorts of different things in the last hour. It was truly embarrassing”.

Lara, who scored 11,953 Test runs at an average of 52.88, also called on batsmen to walk when they know they are out and called for the top sides in the world “to ensure that the integrity of the game is upheld”.

CPL to ‘review' Pollard 'no ball’.

06 September 2017

Reuters.

Thursday, 7 September 2017.

PTG 2241-11346.

The Caribbean Premier League (CPL) has announced it will review the controversial 'no ball’ delivered by Barbados Trindents bowler Kieron Pollard during the final group match of this year’s series in Barbados on Sunday.  Pollard overstepped significantly to deliver what was the last ball of the match, for good measure bouncing the batsman Evin Lewis, who was not out on 97, to ensure he had no chance of scoring a century (PTG 2239-11330, 5 September 2017).

In a statement released on Wednesday, the CPL confirmed it will look further into the incident in the interests of "fair play and good sportsmanship”.  It went on: “[The CPL is] very concerned by any suggestion that the action of any player can be considered to have brought the game or the league into disrepute”, and that “cricket owes so much of its unique appeal to the spirit in which the game is played and as a cricket tournament [we] understand the importance of fair play and good sportsmanship”,

Long-serving scorer awarded NZCUSA Life Membership.

PTG Editor.

Monday, 27 August 2017.

PTG 2241-11347.

Long-time scorer and statistician Ian Smith was honoured with Life Membership of the New Zealand Cricket Umpires and Scorers Association (NZCUSA) during its annual pre-season national convention in Hamilton late last month.  England-born Smith, 73, record the details of his 50th Test when his home nation played Bangladesh at Wellington's Basin Reserve, his ‘home ground’ for nearly five decades, last January.

Smith started scoring for Wellington's Kilbirnie Cricket Club in 1962 and debuted as a first class scorer during the 1963-64 austral summer at the Basin Reserve. His first Test came in 1968 when India were the visitors.  Since then he has only missed one Test at the Basin Reserve, that being the 1990 match against Australia when he was looking after his wife who was ill.  He is the first New Zealand scorer to officiate in 200 first-class and 200 limited over games.  Of his 50 Tests, nine will have involved Australia, eight England, seven Pakistan, six each for India, Sri Lanka and the West Indies, three Bangladesh and South Africa, and two Bangladesh.  

Outside of scoring proper, for thirteen seasons up until April 2014 Smith worked as Cricket Wellington's Club Cricket Administrator, and prior to that also performed the draws and scheduling role for the Hutt Valley Cricket Association. Since 1983 he has also been the co-editor of the New Zealand Cricket Almanac, and in 2009 was one of fifty Kiwis to receive an International Cricket Council Centenary Medal in recognition of his long service to the game. 

Angry crowd vents ire, holds up play in ODI.

PTG Editor.

Monday, 27 August 2017.

PTG 2241-11348.

Play in the third One Day International of the series between Sri Lanka and India in Pallekele had to be stopped for over half-an-hour on Sunday after a section of the crowd, apparently disappointed at the home team’s performance, threw bottles on to the playing area.  Reports say it was "the first recorded instance" of crowd trouble halting play at a major cricket game played in the island nation..

Security personnel tried to take charge of the situation but they could barely appease the angry spectators. Members of the ground staff gathered the bottles and threw them out of the playing area, but the crowd did not relent.  Umpires Ruchira Palliyagurage and Joel Wilson kept the players on the field for about 15 minutes and the two Indian batsman at the crease lay down pitch-side, seemingly asleep and waiting for the crowd to calm down.

Eventually, the umpires shook hands with the players and came off the field, leading many to believe they had awarded the game to India. Sri Lanka's Special Security Force (SSF) was deployed and they cleared the misbehaving audience on the grass bank that caused most of the trouble.  Once the situation settled down, 32 minutes later, Palliyagurage and Wilson returned to the field followed by the Sri Lankan players and then the Indian batsmen. Seven balls later, India completed the win with six wickets to spare. 

It was the second instance of unruly crowd behaviour in the series. After suffering a 3-0 loss in the Tests, Sri Lanka lost the opening ODI in Dambulla by nine wickets. Spectators surrounded the team bus after that match and hurled abuse at the players before the SSF restored order.

India’s domestic players still awaiting bulk of 2016-17 season pay.

Amol Karhadkar.

The Hindu.

Wednesday, 6 September 2017.

PTG 2241-11349.

The countdown for India's 2017-18 domestic season may have begun, however, most players are still waiting for their fixed share of match-fees for the 2016-17 season.  The stalemate over the Board of Control for Cricket in India's (BCCI’s) implementation of, or the lack it, of the nation’s Supreme Court-directed administrative reforms has resulted in a majority of domestic cricketers being deprived of their fixed match-fee.  Concerns were expressed last year about the general level of remuneration that is available to those who play first class cricket at domestic level in India.

The BCCI distributes domestic players’ fee in two parts: players receive 10,000 Rupees per match-day ($A195, £UK120) from their respective State association during or immediately after the season and the remaining share is paid directly to players by the Board after the accounts are ratified by the national body’s annual general meeting.  When it comes to the fixed share, almost half of the BCCI’s affiliates have not been able to clear the dues due to lack of funds. While some of the bigger associations who have cash reserves have been able to do so, almost half of the 30 members cannot due to their funds shortage.

With a majority of BCCI affiliates being at loggerheads with the Court-appointed Committee of Administrators (CoA) over the implementation of the administrative reforms (PTG 2236-11320, 24 August 2017), the CoA has taken a stringent stance.  It has declined to request the Supreme Court to disburse funds to State associations unless they agree to adopt the new rulebook.  “If we do not get the funds we are entitled to from the Board, how can we run the show. We have somehow managed the last year but now cricket has actually started suffering”, said an official from a West Zone state, requesting anonymity.

Another official from a southern association said he has asked players to write to the Board directly.  “Since the State bodies have not received money from the BCCI, they have told the Board to pay the players directly”, he said.  It is understood that the plight is not just limited to players. Even the coaching and support staff of most teams have not been paid. A coach of a Ranji team said he understands the situation but if the payments are not settled soon, especially for support staff, it will be difficult for these professionals to sustain themselves financially.

CSA forging ahead with ‘transformation' plans.

Agence France Presse.

Tuesday, 5 September 2017.

PTG 2241-11350.

While a 'pat on the back' from government for their transformation policy was gratefully received by Cricket South Africa (CSA), its president, Chris Nenzani, says there will be no resting on any laurels as the association forges ahead to “Africanise’ the game in that country.  CSA exceeded its transformation targets set last year when they instituted new guidelines, exceeding the minimum target of 54 percent participation across the season and formats and the case was the same for the 18 percent figure set down for the participation of Black African players (PTG 2187-11086, 2 July 2017).

Nenzani said that “From our point of view as CSA, we are satisfied, we believe that the process is giving natural results. And we hope it will continue to do so”.  He cited the recent draft for players in CSA’s new ‘Global’ Twenty 20 as an example of how his organisation's overall transformation process had led to conventional tools being utilised to pick players for the various franchises.  “You'd have noticed at the player draft for the Global T20, players were just picked on the basis of them being players. We are happy and believe in our system, we are producing players, and we need to give them an opportunity”.

Nevertheless, in his speech at CSA’s anual general meeting last Saturday (PTG 2240-11342, 6 September 2017), Nenzani said it was important for the organisation’s provincial affiliates to create openings for “transformation officers”.  “If we are committed to the transformation of cricket, the ‘Africanisation” of cricket, we need therefore to make every effort to make it successful and work”, he explained. "We need to have people monitoring this at every level, so that we are able to see what the blockages maybe, the successful stories and share those successes and with the blockages how do we unblock them, so that we are able to have a bigger picture in terms of what we want to achieve”.

‘Language’ issues see Windies, England, pair reprimanded.

PTG Editor.

Tuesday, 5 September 2017.

PTG 2241-11351.

West Indian captain Jason Holder and England all-rounder Ben Stokes were both reprimanded and had one demerit point added to their disciplinary record for using “inappropriate language” during the second Test between their sides at Headingley last week.  On-field umpires Chris Gaffaney and Sundarum Ravi heard Holder’s comments directly, while Stokes’ outburst was captured by a stamp microphone.

Holder was reprimanded for "twice [making] inappropriate comments which were audible enough to be heard by both the on-field umpires’, a Level One breach. He was found to have “used language or a gesture that is obscene, offensive or insulting’ during an international game”. Stokes charge for an “inappropriate comment” was along the same lines as Holder.  The charges against both players were brought by Gaffaney and Ravi, third umpire Marais Erasmus and fourth umpire Nick Cook.

Stokes now has three demerit points against his name and thus, under International Cricket Council disciplinary regulations, is just one point away from a ban should he transgress again between now and late November.  South Africa's Kagiso Rabada was banned for one Test match earlier this northern summer after accululating four demerit points when he used "inappropriate language" towards Stokes during the opening Test between their two sides (PTG 2201-11145, 14 July 2017).

Rain plays spoilsport for India’s cricket insurers.

Mayur Shetty.

Times of India.

Tuesday, 29 August 2017.

PTG 2241-11352.

The cost of insuring cricket matches in India, which accounts for a bulk of the 200 million Rupee ($A3.9 m, £UK2.4 m) sports insurance market in that country, has gone up substantially in the last three-four years. Stakes in the country's most popular game have risen and insurance companies are discovering that a little bit of rain can result in having to pay out large claims.

A corporate sponsor of the Indian team has seen its insurance premium bill jump from 1.5 m Rupees ($A29,275, £UK17,965) to 4 m Rupees ($A78,070, £UK47,905) in a year following a large claim in the previous year. Sponsors are only one of the stakeholders in a cricket match — the others being the association, broadcasters and franchisee owners.

"Hardening cricket insurance rates are predominantly driven by loss ratios as most of the policies are bleeding”, said Amit Agarwal of JLT Insurance Brokers. "For the same match, there are multiple stakeholders who buy insurance cover. Often claims from multiple insurance policies hit the same insurer or reinsurers simultaneously. Given the multiple stake, a bad spell of rain could cause large losses to the insurer”, said Agarwal.

Cricket continues to account for 85-90 per cent of the total sports insurance market in India.  That market, which is less than two decades old, received a big boost with the launch of the Indian Premier League (IPL) ten years ago. The business, which started as a largely reinsurance-driven one, is now led by the country's largest domestic insurer 'New India Assurance' followed by 'Oriental Insurance', 'ICICI Lombard’, 'National Insurance' and 'HDFC Ergo’.

In the early days of cricket insurance, non-life companies were cautious, charging high rates and providing limited cover. Companies issued policies like the one-ball bowled cover, where the insurance policy would cease to operate if even a single ball was bowled. In subsequent years, as domestic companies learned the game, more insurers participated in the trade, a move that brought prices down.  The IPL’s entry resulted in the game becoming big business and different stakeholders buying cover to protect their interests. "When the insurance company stands to lose 600,000 Rupees ($A11,710, £UK7,185) per over, there is less room to be flexible about rates”, said Agarwal.

However, headline-grabbing events in cricket have not resulted in claims. For instance, the scrapping of the Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals did not result in claims to insurers as the actions of the franchise owners were judged to be illegal. Rather, it is inclement weather that results in losses for insurance companies.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 2,242

Friday, 8 September 2017

 

• Cricket Australia goes around the wicket [PTG 2242-11353].

• CSA congratulates Erasmus on first class ‘ton’ [PTG 2242-11354].

• 'I’m glad West Indies left mark on game’, says Holding [PTG 2242-11355].

• Lord's square struck by 'fairy rings’ [PTG 2242-11356].

Cricket Australia goes around the wicket.

Greg Baum.

Fairfax Media.

Friday, 8 September 2017.

PTG 2242-11353.

Like a variation sent down by national off-break bowler Nathan Lyon, Cricket Australia (CA), in announcing its five-year strategic focus for the years from 2017-22 on Thursday, has subtly changed direction.

In 2004, when CA launched the first of what was intended to be recurring five-year plans, the priorities were to establish the Australian men's team as the country's favourite in any sport, and for men's and women's teams to be ranked number one in all three forms.  There was less emphasis on women and juniors, and none at all on the Twenty20 Big Bash League (BBL), mainly because it didn't exist then.

The tumble of events since prompted some hasty revisions, and on Thursday the release of another five-year plan, with a very different thrust. There is nothing in CA's new five-year missive about endearing the men's team to the nation –  too hard? –  and only in the finer print an imperative to dominate in all forms, by both – all? –  genders.  

Now it is all about women and juniors and milking the BBL for all it is worth, which is ever growing. The Ashes, world cups and the Indian frontier are givens, but the explicit focus is the 2020 World Twenty20 Championship series, which Australia will host, and the leverage it will provide.  "In particular, we will be placing the emphasis on making cricket the leading sport for women and girls”, said CA chief executive James Sutherland, "and delivering the best participation experiences to grow junior cricket”.

The reasons are obvious. The hearts and minds of women as players is the "new battleground" in sport, as one official termed it. The evidence is all around. Grassroots, including by implication juniors, is one arena in which all sports fear they are losing ground to the home grown game, the Australian Football League, ever rapacious or ever voracious, depending on your point of view.

Grassroots were at least the notional cause championed by both sides in the recent, bitter pay dispute between CA and the Australian Cricketers Association (PTG 2222-11262, 6 August 2017). Practically, the cricketers won. But CA did end up with a pool of $A56 million (£UK34.4 m) to devote to grassroots. Spread over the next five years, it will represent an increase of more than 25 per cent on the past five years in CA's investment in grassroots.

Sutherland pressed these themes. "Our recent facilities audit ... found that just 20 per cent [of clubs] have changing rooms that are suitable for women and girls”, he said, not for the first time. "It also told us that too many cricket clubs do not have enough practice facilities and that many new communities in our major cities have no sporting facilities at all”.

Up the food chain, the new world order is starkly clear. Though the strategic plan's priorities are not necessarily in order, the first reads simply, "Give fans what they want and grow the [BBL]".

CSA congratulates Erasmus on first class ‘ton’.

PTG Editor.

Friday, 8 September 2017.

PTG 2242-11354.

Cricket South Africa (CSA) has congratulated Marais Erasmus on becoming the second South African to stand as an on-field umpire in 100 first-class matches, his century coming in the third England-West Indies Test, his 45th at that level, at Lord’s which got underway on Thursday.  Rudi Koertzen is the only other South African to have stood in 100 first-class matches, his tally on retirement being 218, 108 which were Tests.

CSA chief xxecutive Haroon Lorgat congratulated "Marais as he achieves another landmark in his stellar career”.  "What a special moment it is for him and what better place for him to achieve this milestone than at iconic Lord’s”, where he has now been on-field in a Test five times.  Lorgat described Erasmus "a role model for all our match officials and we are immensely proud of him [and] we wish him everything of the best on this special occasion”.

'I’m glad West Indies left mark on game’, says Holding.

Craig Chisnall.

The Times.

Thursday, 7 September 2017.

PTG 2242-11355.

Former West Indies bowler Michael Holding has hit back at criticism by Brian Lara, who said that he was embarrassed by the unsportsmanlike behaviour of the West Indies team that dominated cricket in the 1980s.  Delivering the Marylebone Cricket Club’s 'Spirit of Cricket Cowdrey' lecture at Lord’s on Tuesday, Lara said that the team “played the game in a way it should never, ever be played”, and cited an example when Holding kicked over the stumps during a series against New Zealand in 1980 (PTG 2241-11345, 7 September 2017).

Holding has previously accused Lara of “getting away with murder” during his time captaining the West Indies.  Responding to Lara’s claims, Holding said: “Brian Lara can say whatever he likes and I will not listen. I was never a Brian Lara fan and I never appreciated the way he played.  As for having a big effect on cricket, I’m very glad about it. It brought the international panel [of umpires] into force. But it wasn’t just us — there were other incidents involving Mike Gatting and [Arjuna] Ranatunga.  We believed in ourselves and the more we won the more it built our belief to become even greater. Winning became a habit and every time we went out on that field, we expected to win”.

Lord's square struck by 'fairy rings’.

Nick Hoult.

London Daily Telegraph.

Thursday, 7 September 2017.

PTG 2242-11356.

The normally pristine Lord’s playing surface has been hit by an outbreak of ‘fairy rings’ that have caused unsightly crop circle circle style markings on the pitch.  The latest ever start to a Lord’s Test has left the groundstaff battling with damp autumnal conditions and the fairy rings, caused by mushroom spores, have broken out all across the square. An unusually damp August has helped the fungus 

pastedGraphic.png

 

spread.  There is one on the pitch just back of a length outside off stump if bowling from the Nursery End.  The Marylebone Cricket Club say they will have no effect on playing conditions and they are more visible from an elevated position in the stands than at ground level.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 2,243

Saturday, 9 September 2017

 

• Umpires for Lahore World XI games named [PTG 2243-11357]. 

• ICC appoints three neutrals for India-Australia ODIs [PTG 2243-11358]. 

• News of CA ’strategic aims’, programs, for match officials awaited [PTG 2243-11359]. 

• Thieves raid Shropshire cricket clubs for mowers [PTG 2243-11360].

Umpires for Lahore World XI games named.

PTG Editor.

Saturday, 9 September 2017.

PTG 2243-11357.

The four umpires who are to stand in next week’s Twenty20 series between Pakistan and a World XI in Lahore have been named and there are no surprises.  The four are Aleem Dar, a member of the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) Elite Umpires Panel, plus Ahsan Raza, Shozab Raza and Ahmed Shahab, the three Pakistani members of the ICC’s second-tier International Umpires Panel.

Dar and be on-field in the series opener on Tuesday with Ahsan Raza, the latter’s namesake being the television umpire, the second game the following day will see Ahmed Shahab and Shozab Raza on-field with Ahsan Raza in the television suite, the two Razas being together in the final game on  Friday with Shahab as the television umpire.  The ICC have appointed Richie Richardson of the West Indies as the referee for all three games (PTG 2239-11332, 5 September 2017).

Dar has only been appointed for the opening match as he is scheduled to attend the ICC Elite Match Officials workshop in Dubai that is due to run from Wednesday to Friday next week.  This year's annual workshop at the ICC Headquarters will reportedly discuss the new Laws of the game and the ICC playing conditions that flow from them, the latter of which will come into effect at the end of this month.

ICC appoints three neutrals for India-Australia ODIs.

PTG Editor.

Saturday, 9 September 2017.

PTG 2243-11358.

Jeff Crowe of New Zealand, Marais Erasmus of South Africa and Richard Illingworth from England have been named as the neutral officials for there five One Day Internationals (ODI) India and Australia are to play in Chennai, Kolkata, Indore, Bangalore and Nagpur later this month.  The three are expected to work with Indian members of the International Cricket Council’s second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP), Chettihody Shamshuddin, Anil Chaudhary, CK Nandan and Nitin Menon during the series.

Crowe will oversee the series as match referee, this taking his ODI tally in that role to 265 games.  Erasmus will be on-field with one of the IUP members in Chennai,Indore, and Nagpur with Illingworth the television umpire, the Englishman and South African reversing roles in games two and three in Kolkata and Nagpur.  The series will take Erasmus’ ODI record to 74 on-field and 45 as the television umpire (74/45), and Illingworth to 55/42.  Shamshuddin goes into the series on 24/16, Chaudhary 11/17, Nandan 2/7 and Menon 3/2.

News of CA ’strategic aims’, programs, for match officials awaited.

PTG Editor.

Saturday, 9 September 2017.

PTG 2243-11359.

Cricket Australia (CA) released broad details of its "strategic aims” for the five years from 2017-22 on Thursday (PTG 2242-11353, 8 September 2017), however, there was no indication in the material that accompanied the ‘launch’ as to just what their approach will be for the match officials area over that time.  News of the latest ‘aims' came first via a 800 word release that went out to the general media, it also later being run word-for-word on CA’s ‘Community Umpiring’ (CU) web page’, plus an e-mail of similar content sent direct to members of the ‘Australian Cricket Community’ by chief executive James Sutherland, and two promotional videos supporting the release whose combined running time totals two minutes.  

In addition to men’s and women’s Big Bash League (BBL) Twenty20 competitions and strengthening the womens’ game, the other key strategic themes in the plan were stated as: improving the High Performance system for elite players; improving technology to deliver better experiences for fans, participants and volunteers; and maximising long-term sustainable revenue to drive investment in the game. 

CA said the new plan seeks to be "the most inclusive yet" in Australian sport and encompasses the game as a whole, including all eight state and territory associations as well as the national governing body, and it will set the direction for the game through until 2022.  Given CA’s stated aim of growing the game further in the next half-decade it may well have a well-thought out strategy for match officials recruitment, development and retention at all levels that is married to supporting the key elements of the new plan.  

If it has such a plan it is yet to make the details available to the general scorer, referee and umpiring community in any coherent form.  Its track record in terms of keeping people outside its ‘elite’ level groups up-to-date in reasonable detail on what the vision is going forward has for many observers, even those who are reasonably close the the system, been distinctly limited.  While the game is for the players they cannot, whatever the level, make the most of their personal ability if the officials that manage their games are not trained and experienced to an appropriate standard.  The evidence is however, that when CA’s public relations section prepares general material on the game match officials are usually not sought about, and CA’s Match Officials Unit (MOU) seems unable to correct such omissions.

That trend continued on Thursday for there was no mention of match officials in any of the texts released about the new strategic aims, including on the ‘Community Umpiring’ web page itself, and equally importantly there was not one glimpse in the 120 seconds of video that were put together for the new plan’s launch, of scorers, referees or umpires exercising their craft.  The only hint about that part of the game came on the ‘CU’ web page, which is run by the MOU, where as is to be expected an image accompanied the text.  It showed two CA National Umpire Panel members, their backs to the camera, going out on to the ground.  

Thieves raid Shropshire cricket clubs for mowers.

Sophie Madden.

Shropshire Star.

Thursday, 7 September 2017.

PTG 2243-11360.

Professional thieves are stealing mowers used for tending the outfield from village cricket clubs in Shropshire.   It is part of a trend that is growing nationwide, with an increase of reports of thefts from club fields and sheds (PTG 2236-11323, 24 August 2017). Experts are struggling to explain the thefts, as specialist wicket mowers are unsuitable for back gardens or landscaping, and there is no evidence they are being offloaded at car boot sales or ebay. It is believed they may be stolen to order, possibly even shipped abroad. 

Recently Lilleshall Cricket Club (LCC) was a victim, and had three mowers stolen.  But clubs as far apart as Upottery in Devon and Queensbury in West Yorkshire are among those reporting losses of mowers.   One of the England and Wales Cricket Board’s (ECB) official insurers, 'Marshall Wooldridge', which covers about half of Britain’s 6,000 clubs, says that of all its claims, those relating to ground equipment were running at about 13 per cent over the past three years but since March this has shot up to 50 per cent. 

In June, gang mowers were stolen from the LCC, who appealed for help in tracking down the mowers.   At the time, Ian Bate, chairman of the club said: “We are not the first cricket club in the area to be targeted and as far I know no one has been caught”.  In the early summer, the mowers are used to cut the outfield which grows profusely in the good weather.  The club has four senior sides and four junior sides and those running the club said they have done their best to keep the club running despite the theft.   But now, its secretary says there are rumours that the mowers are being taken elsewhere. 

Peter Maltby, the LLC’s secretary, said: “These were professional thieves. The rumour is that the mowers have gone to Ireland”.  Police are advising clubs to install CCTV, conduct regular reviews of locks and storage and have ground machinery security marked.  Among the clubs elsewhere in England whose summers have been blighted is Upottery CC in east Devon. After years of planning and fundraising, the club moved to a new ground just outside the village. Three weeks later it suffered its first ever break-in when a shipping container was smashed open and £UK10,000 ($A16,200 ) worth of mowers were stolen. 

In another raid last month, Egerton cricket club in Greater Manchester was targeted by masked thieves who broke in, fastened one end of a cable to a safe in the beer cellar and the other to their car and tried to haul it out. They failed but caused substantial damage. 

The ECB is advising clubs that feel they might be at risk to seek advice from police, though it said it had no evidence that clubs were being singled out more than other organisations   A spokesman said: “We will always offer support and advice to clubs who are victims of vandalism or any other similar incident. This is done on a case-by-case basis working closing with the relevant local county cricket board”.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 2,244

Sunday, 10 September 2017

 

• Middlesex 'disappointed' by points deduction after arrow incident [PTG 2244-11361]. 

• Zim, Windies umpires to stand in CPL final [PTG 2244-11362]. 

• No new playing conditions for India-Australia, England-WI ODIs [PTG 2244-11363]. 

• Lewis no-ball unintentional, says Pollard [PTG 2244-11364]. 

• MCC, ECB donate £UK25K to Hurricane ‘Irma’ Appeal [PTG 2244-11365]. 

Middlesex 'disappointed' by points deduction after arrow incident.

BBC News.

Saturday, 9 September 2017.

PTG 2244-11361.

Middlesex have been deducted two points for a slow over-rate in their abandoned Championship game against Surrey at The Oval which was stopped after a crossbow bolt was fired into the ground during the last day of play (PTG 2238-11329, 4 September 2017).  The stoppage meant Middlesex were denied the chance to improve their over-rate in the remainder of the final session.

The county’s chief executive Richard Goatley told the Middlesex website: ."Naturally this is an extremely disappointing decision.  We have had several lengthy conversations with the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) over the past few days and asked them to consider the unique and non-cricket related circumstances surrounding the match's abandonment but they decided the penalty should stand.  We have been advised that since the ECB has chosen to follow the published playing conditions in this instance, there is no scope for any further appeal”.   

A 35-year-old man was arrested following the incident but released on police bail pending further inquiries.

Zim, Windies umpires to stand in CPL final.

PTG Editor.

Sunday, 10 September 2017.

PTG 2244-11362.

Gregory Brathwaite of the West Indies and Langton Rusere of Zimbabwe have been selected to stand in Sunday's final of this year’s Caribbean Premier League (CPL) between the Trinbago Knight Riders and the St Kitts and Nevis Patriots.  Devdas Govindjee of South Africa will oversee the match as the referee, his countryman Johan Cloete will be the television umpire, and Kellman Kowlessar of the West Indies the fourth umpire.  

It will be the first CPL decider for the two on-field umpires, and the second in a row as a television umpire and match referee respectively for Cloete and Govindjee. All-up during the CPL’s 2017 season Govindjee will have looked after 18 matches, Brathwaite been on-field in 13 and the television umpire in 5 (13/5), Cloete in 12/8 and Rusere 12/6.

No new playing conditions for India-Australia, England-WI ODIs.

Nagraj Gollapudi.

Cricinfo.

Sunday, 10 September 2017.

PTG 2244-11363.

The new set of International Cricket Council (ICC) playing conditions, which become effective on the last Thursday of this month, will not be applied for the limited-overs series between England and West Indies, and Australia and India. This decision has been taken because the revised rules, which flow from the new Laws Code, come into play midway through both series and the ICC wanted to avoid the resulting discrepancy.

So, the first games of cricket with teams not losing a review for an umpire's call verdict on Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) calls, and umpires having the authority to send players off the field for bad behaviour, will be the Test series between Sri Lanka and Pakistan, and between Bangladesh and South Africa.  They both get underway on that last Thursday of this month.

Three months ago in June, the ICC Cricket Committee took suggestions from the Marylebone Cricket Club, who are custodians of the laws of the game, and recommended various playing condition changes to the ICC’s senior administrators

These included restrictions on bat sizes, introduction of UDRS in Twenty20 Internationals, and an amendment to the run-out law so that batsmen are no longer dismissed if their bat pops in the air at the time of the stumps being broken after having been grounded behind the crease initially. Catches and stumpings will also be permitted off deliveries where the ball makes contact with the protective helmet worn by a fielder or wicketkeeper.

The ICC has also made it mandatory for all international matches to have UDRS with accredited ball-tracking and edge-detection technology once the new rules take effect. However, reviews will no longer be reset after 80 overs in a Test match.

Lewis no-ball unintentional, says Pollard.

Cricinfo.

Saturday, 9 September 2017.

PTG 2244-11364.

Barbados Trindents bowler Kieron Pollard has denied he deliberately bowled the no-ball that potentially cost St Kitts and Nevis Patriots' batsman Evin Lewis a record-breaking hundred in the final group match of this year’s Caribbean Premier League (CPL) group series in Barbados last Sunday.  Pollard overstepped significantly to deliver what was the last ball of the match, for good measure bouncing Lewis, who was not out on 97 (PTG 2239-11330, 5 September 2017), the CPL saying a few days later it would ‘review' the incident (PTG 2241-112346, 7 September 2017). 

Pollard, the Tridents captain, said he overstepped as he was trying to put extra effort into a short ball, his best delivery option. "When I took up that ball in that last delivery, I had one thing in my mind: trying to bowl a delivery, my best delivery - what has been working for me throughout the tournament - a short delivery to see if he [will] have a waft at it, to see if it can go up in the air and we can get him out”, said Pollard on Saturday.  The Lewis incident triggered outrage against Pollard on social media, but he says his conscience was clear.

"Although we would have lost the game, I was still thinking of getting him out, and using my strength, what I had been doing. Unfortunately, [the] stride went for that extra, I stepped over the mark and I think that has been the talking point, of what actually happened, the actual no-ball itself.  It wasn't intentional, nothing was intentional at any point in time. I acknowledge that we have lost the game but I am not going to just go there and bowl a ball just for him to hit it for six or four, for him to score hundred in that sense. That's not my nature, and I don't think any sportsman will just do something to that effect”.

"What I am a big believer in is I can sit here and I can talk to you and I can tell you untruths and I can make up all sorts of stories”, he said. "But one person I can't make up a story to is when I watch myself in the mirror. When I watch myself in the mirror, I know what my intentions were in that particular delivery, and my intention was just try to bowl the best delivery”.

This isn't the first time that Pollard's on-field actions have been questioned. Earlier this year, in the Indian Premier League (IPL), he was ruled to have run one run deliberately short in a bid to retain strike, and the sportsmanship of that was questioned (PTG 2131-10804, 12 May 20127). In 2014, Pollard was involved in a heated altercation in an IPL match with Australian Mitchell Starc (PTG 1348-6515, 8 May 2014). 

MCC, ECB donate £UK25K to Hurricane ‘Irma’ Appeal.

MCC web site.

Saturday, 9 September 2017.

PTG 2244-11365.

The Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) and the England and Wales Cricket Board (EWCB) have donated £UK25,000 ($A40,965) for the British Red Cross to aid in relief efforts in Caribbean nations who have been devastated by Hurricane ‘Irma'.  The President of MCC, Matthew Fleming, and the Chairman of EWCB, Colin Graves, handed the cheque to UK Prime Minister Theresa May last Lord’s during a break in the England-West Indies Test match.

May commented on the widespread distress caused to so many families in the islands affected by the hurricane, and the support which will be required in the months and years ahead. Fleming said: “MCC’s thoughts are with everyone in the Caribbean who are coming to terms with the devastating aftermath of Hurricane Irma. As we host longstanding friends from the West Indies at Lord’s this week our hearts go out to all who have been affected and we hope our contribution can make a difference at this incredibly challenging time”.

Colin Graves said: “Everyone at ECB has been shocked and saddened by the impact of Hurricane Irma across the Caribbean.  Our thoughts are with all those who have been affected by the terrible events of the last 48 hours and we would urge cricket fans to give generously in support of the relief effort”.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 2,245

Monday, 11 September 2017

 

• Retired Indian Test umpires looking for rise in BCCI pension [PTG 2245-11366]. 

No helmet for Palliyaguruge despite close call [PTG 2245-11367]. 

• New Perth stadium eyed as third Aussie ‘pink ball’ Test location [PTG 2245-11368]. 

• BCCI pays out for ‘Zing’, ‘Umpire Cam, ’Spidercam’ services [PTG 2245-11369]. 

Purchase aeroplane for Indian team, suggests former skipper [PTG 2245-11370]. 

Retired Indian Test umpires looking for rise in BCCI pension.

Clayton Murzello.

Midday.

Sunday, 10 September 2017.

PTG 2245-11366.

"Can you imagine a match starting without the umpires”, a retired Test umpire asked me earlier this week. It's a question the mandarins at the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) should ask themselves while re-examining the monthly pensions they hand out to such officials. At the moment, the figure stands at 22,500 Rupees ($A435, £UK265) for the men in white coats who retired before 2000.  The BCCI is unique when it comes to looking after their former Test players and umpires on an on-going basis.

The umpires want an increase in the current figure. That’s not just because the Board recently announced a 163.48 billion Rupees ($A3.21 bn, £UK1.97bn) deal for Indian Premier League television and digital rights (PTG 2239-11330, 5 September 2017), but because 22,500 Rupees is just not enough to live comfortably.  One retired umpire said: "We keep hearing about former players getting one-time payments. A few months ago, we read about players who figured in one to nine Tests getting 3.5 million Rupees each ($A68,130, £UK41,590). I think we too deserve one-time payments.  I don't grudge the players, but it is a fact that some of them earn a living after their playing days through commentary, media work and coaching while we have very little to turn to”.

Despite wanting an enhanced pension, the umpires are grateful to the BCCI for the monthly grant and the 500,000 Rupees ($A9,730, £UK5,940) reserved for medical fees. One Mumbai-based umpire, though, has exhausted his medical expenses through constant hospital visits while another is in a similar state and can't even move out of his house due to a orthopaedic problem. "I think some of us should also be considered for the CK Nayudu Lifetime Achievement Award [which consists of a trophy and 2.5 million Rupees ($A48,665, £UK29,710)]. We would like to believe that even we have contributed to the growth of Indian cricket”, said another umpire.

An official of his era recalled the days when umpires got 10,000 Rupees ($A195, £UK120) as allowance for each Test they officiated in, and that: "We went to venues by train while the players traveled by air. They stayed in five-star hotels but we were put up in guest houses”.  Past players and umpires were each allocated 5,000 Rupees  ($A95, £UK60) per month after the pension scheme was introduced in May 2004. While increases of 5,000 Rupees have been granted to umpires from time-to-time before the current figure of 22,500 Rupees was announced in November 2015, pension rises for former players have increased at a far greater rate.

Current match officials who oversee and support matches run under the auspices of the BCCI could receive increases in pay of 50 per cent or more during the forthcoming 2017-18 season under a proposal that was reported last month as being examined by the board (PTG 2222-11258, 6 August 2017).

No helmet for Palliyaguruge despite close call.

Cricket Country.

Sunday, 10 September 2017.

PTG 2245-11367.

Sri Lankan umpire Ruchira Palliyaguruge had a lucky escape on Wednesday night. The 49-year-old could have sustained a serious injury during the opening Sri Lanka-India Twenty20 International in Colombo, however, he says he will not be using a helmet in future.  His near miss came when Indian batsman Virat Kohli hit a ball straight back down the pitch that missed the umpire by a very small margin. Palliyaguruge averted being struck by falling on the ground. 

Palliyaguruge said after the match: “It was a lightening strike [but] let other umpires use a helmet [for][ I am certain that I will not. I am fit enough to move out of danger. I work hard everyday to be fit for the job. I go to gym four or five times a week. My cricketing background [as a former first class player with 146 such games on his record] helps me to anticipate better what is going to happen with the ball. Had it been deflected off my body nothing would have happened but had it been caught by a fielder after deflection on my body, Kohli would have been out”.

New Perth stadium eyed as third Aussie ‘pink ball’ Test location.

PTG Editor.

Monday, 11 September 2017.

PTG 2245-11368.

Perth could be in line to host a "pink-ball" Test match in the foreseeable future with its soon-to-be completed stadium more suitable for twilight Test cricket than the WACA Ground, according to Cricket Australia (CA) chief executive James Sutherland.  He indicated in an article posted on the CA web site on Sunday that because the prime Australian television audience for such a game would be on the country’s east coast, which is three hours ahead of Perth during the austral summer, a day’s play would end at around 7 p.m. Perth time (10 p.m. in Brisbane, Hobart, Melbourne and Sydney).  During the time of the year such a match is likely to be played, sunset in Perth will come close the the time the last ball of the day there would normally be delivered.

The article, by journalist Andrew Ramsey, says it has "been widely believed" there was little appetite at CA for day-night Test cricket in the Western Australia capital due to the summer time difference that enables the final session of each day's play to be broadcast live into the lucrative eastern states viewing market in prime time.  But Sutherland said another factor precluding Perth from staging a Test match under lights has been the impact of late afternoon shadows that stretched across the WACA, ironically due in large part to its huge concrete light towers that posed viewing problems for both players and broadcasters.

With the upcoming Ashes Test in December to be the last big-ticket international match, and 43rd Test, staged at the WACA before the new stadium at nearby Burswood is completed (PTG 2130-10799, 11 May 2017), Sutherland indicated CA will consider scheduling day-night Tests at the new stadium. However, if they were to employ the early-afternoon starting time that has applied in previous day-night Tests in Adelaide and Brisbane, it would mean a day’s play in Perth would end at around 9 p.m. there, or midnight or beyond on the east coast, a timing that could tend to result in viewers there turning off for the last session of play - thus potentially reducing the value of all-powerful TV advertising in the late evening.

Ramsey goes on to say that a Perth "day-night” Test also raises the possibility of three such Tests in a five-Test Australian summer being staged as day-night matches outside the peak holiday period, while the traditional Melbourne (Boxing Day) and Sydney (New Year) Tests will retain their daytime format. "Since the first day-night Test match was staged in Adelaide two years ago, the concept has won strong support in Australia where Adelaide Oval has established itself as a 'destination Test match’, and Brisbane drew its largest Test crowd match outside an Ashes match to last summer's inaugural pink ball fixture against Pakistan”, said Sutherland.

CA’s chief executive reiterated CA's commitment to maintaining its domestic 50-over one day competition in its current scheduling window of September-October but ruled out expanding the seven-team tournament to include a developing national team such as Papua New Guinea (PNG).  Sutherland said the competition, which features matches in Brisbane, Sydney, Perth and Hobart this year, remained an essential element of Australia's One Day International planning and preparations that culminate in the quadrennial World Cup.  PNG already competes in South Australia’s six-team competition alongside four composite sides from Adelaide and one from the Northern Territory (PTG 1175-5685, 23 August 2013).

BCCI pays out for ‘Zing’, ‘Umpire Cam, ’Spidercam’ services.

PTG Editor.

Monday, 11 September 2017.

PTG 2245-11369.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India has reported it paid Australian electronic bail system provider Zing International 13.46 million Rupees ($A261,247, £UK159,439) for the services it provided to the 2017 Indian Premier League (IPL) series.  Zing stumps and bails were used in the 60 matches involved, which suggests the system may have come in at around $A4,300 (£UK2,655) per match.  Another Australian firm, Telstra Broadcast Services, earned a total of 1.54 million Rupees ($A29,836, £UK18,208) for the provision of ‘umpire cam services’ during the IPL, while 5.8 million Rupees ($A112,866, £UK68,882) has been transferred to the ‘Spidercam’ company’s account for use of their system during both the IPL and the India-Australia Test series last February-March.

Purchase aeroplane for Indian team, suggests former skipper.

Hindustan Times.

Sunday, 10 September 2017.

PTG 2245-11370.

Former India captain Kapil Dev has suggested the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) buy an airplane for the Indian cricket team in order to reduce travel time and resulting fatigue in an already busy schedule.  Citing examples of several sportspersons in the west, Kapil Dev says he would ‘love’ to see Indian cricketers buying their own airplanes in the future.

Dev said: “Now that BCCI is making good money, it should have its own plane. It will save a lot of time and make life easier for Team India. The board can afford it. They should have done it five years ago.  I am sure BCCI can also afford the parking charges.  I would also love to see some cricketers buying their own aircraft in the days to come. In the United States top golfers have their own planes. I don’t see any reason why our players can’t buy them as it will save them a lot of time. Such a move will also generate a few more jobs”.  He is reported to have made a similar suggestion to BCCI officials almost three years ago when he also suggested to the board establish guest houses in major cities in order to avoid hotel bills.

Meanwhile, the Indian team is set for another gruelling few months at home as they host Australia, New Zealand and Sri Lanka. Its players returned home last Thursday from a long tour of Sri Lanka and will be getting together soon for a five-match One Day International (ODI) and three-match Twenty20 International (T20I) series against Australia.  They will then proceed to another limited-overs series against New Zealand, three ODIs and as many T20Is, in mid-October.  Then before they embark on the tour of South Africa in January 2018, they will host Sri Lanka for yet another long series, playing three Tests, five ODIs and a one-off T20I.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 2,246

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

 

• Srinath to referee his 200 ODI at Old Trafford [PTG 2246-11371]. 

• Bowler loses half his match fee over ’Swan Lake’ appeal [PTG 2246-11372]. 

India ODI series will be played in good spirit: Aussie skipper [PTG 2246-11373]. 

CA chief ‘showcasing’ everything but match officials [PTG 2246-11374]. 

Captain could have controlled, avoided, players’ bad bahaviour: Goodall [PTG 2246-11375]. 

• CA unveils support for marriage equality [PTG 2246-11376]. 

Srinath to referee his 200 ODI at Old Trafford.

PTG Editor.

Tuesday, 12 September 2017.

PTG 2246-11371.

Indian match referee Javagal Srinath will become the fifth person to manage 200 One Day Internationals (ODI) at Old Trafford next Tuesday in the opening match of the series between England and the West Indies.  Srinath, 48, who played in 229 ODIs over a 12-year period from 1991-2003 before overseeing his first such game as a referee in 2006, has been named with Australian umpires Rod Tucker and Simon Fry as the neutrals for the series, that trio working with English umpires Rob Bailey, Michael Gough and Tim Robinson, who like Fry are members of the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) second-tier International Umpires Panel.

The England-Windies series will be played at Old Trafford, Trent Bridge, Bristol, The Oval and Southampton respectively, Fry being on-field in matches one, three and five with Tucker the television umpire, the two Aussies reversing spots in games two and three.  Appointments for Bailey, Gough and Robinson are yet to be announced.  

Tucker’s ODI record will total 71 games on-field and 38 as the television umpire nay series end (71/38), and Fry 36/17. Gough will go into the series on 35/15, Bailey18/4 and Robinson 12/1.  Fry’s appointment by the ICC to the series is his seventh as a neutral over the last three years and suggests he is still potentially in contention for the world body’s top umpiring panel next year.

Prior to the England-Windies series getting underway, Srinath will manage the single ODI between the Caribbean side and Ireland in Belfast on Wednesday,   his 199th, Gough being the neutral umpire.  The Indian will then oversee the single Twenty20 International England and the West Indies are to play at Chester-le-Street on Saturday.

Srinath, whose ODI tally as a referee will reach 203 games by series end, reaches the 200 mark after Ranjan Madugalle in 2008, Chris Broad of England (2012), Jeff Crowe of New Zealand (2014) and Roshan Mahanama of Sri Lanka (2014).  Between them those five played in a total of 403 ODIs, and by the end of the England-Windies series overseen 1,284 ODIs.

Of the Indian’s 200 ODIs, 29 will have been played in England, 3 of those at Lord’s, South Africa 26, Zimbabwe 25, Australia and New Zealand both 24, Sri Lanka 19, Bangladesh 16, Windies 11, United Arab Emirates 10, Scotland 8, Kenya 6, Ireland 2 and Wales 1.  Those games include the World Cup of 2007 and the Champions Trophy of 2009 and 2013.

Bowler loses half his match fee over ’Swan Lake’ appeal.

PTG Editor.

Monday, 11 September 2017.

PTG 2246-11372.

South African spinner Tabraiz Shamsi has been fined half of his match fee for his reaction after his LBW appeal was turned down in the final of this year’s Caribbean Premier League (CPL) series on Sunday.  Shamsi, who was playing for the St Kitts and Nevis Patriots’ franchise, ran around in a ’Swan Lake’ fashion, including into the Protected Area, threw his arms up in dismay, and almost fell over in frustration when his appeal was turned down, before ending up angrily gesticulating at umpire Gregory Brathwaite.  Replays indicated the ball was heading down leg side. 

The bowler was cited for showing "serious dissent” as a result of his theatrics by Brathwaite, his on-field colleague Langton Rusere of Zimbabwe, plus third and fourth umpires Johan Cloete and Kellman Kowlessar.  It is not the first time Shamsi has been in trouble for such a ‘Swan Lake’ routine.  Last September he performed in a very similar fashion when playing for South Africa A against a Cricket Australia's National Performance Squad in Queensland.  

On that occasion Shamsi turned towards his countryman, umpire Adrian Holdstock, ran alongside the pitch with his hand raised, twice jumped in the air with both arms again raised, sat down on the pitch with one arm raised, lay down and held his head.  All that elicited no more than a shake of the head and a call of 'over' from Holdstock, the bowler later being ‘reprimanded’ for his actions (PTG 1914-9612, 2 September 2016).

India ODI series will be played in good spirit: Aussie skipper.

PTG Editor.

Monday, 11 September 2017.

PTG 2246-11373.

Australian captain Steve Smith is confident his side and their Indian counterparts can move past the tension of the heated Test series between the two teams last February-March, much of which was let go by match officials (PTG 2082-10541, 23 March 2017), when the two teams meet again in Chennai on Sunday to start their five-match One Day International (ODI) series.  According to a story posted on Cricket Australia’s web site, Smith expects tensions to have cooled off and that the ODIs “will be played in good spirit”.  

Last week the International Cricket Council appointed New Zealand’s Jeff Crowe, and umpires Marais Erasmus of South Africa and Richard Illingworth of England, as the neutral officials for the series (PTG 2243-11358, 9 September 2017).  Both Erasmus and Illingworth worked in the Test series between the two teams six months ago (PTG 2049-10379, 15 February 2017).

CA chief ‘showcasing’ everything but match officials.

PTG Editor.

Monday, 11 September 2017.

PTG 2246-11374.

Cricket Australia (CA) says its chief executive James Sutherland, "will be donning a diverse and colourful array of cricketing uniforms" this week, as he travels around Australia to promote National Play Cricket Week.  Sutherland will take part in a cricket activity in all eight states and territories in just six days, an effort CA says is "an unusual and original national tour that will see him showcase all formats of cricket that are available to the Australian public".

 

During the week his travels will highlight 'Club Cricket Community Impact' in Hobart, a girls-only cricket league in Adelaide, the new junior cricket formats in Melbourne, the All Abilities game in Perth, Indigenous cricket in Alice Springs, launch the "hugely popular” game format for 5-8 year olds in Sydney, play beach cricket in Surfers Paradise in south-east Queensland, and indoor cricket in Canberra.  

One thing he isn’t listed to do apparently though is to take part in scoring or umpiring activities while he accumulates frequent flyer points, for not unusually there is no mention of those parts of the game in CA’s media release about his travels (PTG 2243-11359, 9 September 2017). 

 

CA says the tour "will showcase the fun, inclusive and diverse nature of cricket, whilst also acting as a mini pre-season for Sutherland, who will be pulling on the whites again this summer to join his son in a father and son competition”.  He is quoted as saying: “It’s such an exciting time of year. The goalposts are coming down, we can see pitches being prepared, and the smell of cut grass in spring always reminds me of the anticipation of another summer of cricket. I’m looking forward to playing a few games myself this year – a mini ‘comeback’ with my youngest son - and that means it’s time to start getting ready".

 

“During Play Cricket Week, I’ll be trying out a whole range of cricket playing activities around the country. I’ll pull on board shorts for a session of beach cricket, face the bowling with a giant cricket bat in Melbourne to remember what it feels like to be a little kid again – and to show why we have introduced new junior formats, to make the game easier and more fun for children – and I’ll play alongside the All Abilities League in Perth, one of the most inspiring and humbling experiences anyone can enjoy.  Most of all, I’m really looking forward to visiting all our eight states and territories to hear stories from people who love cricket – and can’t wait for the season to begin”.

Captain could have controlled, avoided, players’ bad bahaviour: Goodall.

Bipin Dani.

Pakistan Observer.

Monday, 11 September 2017.

PTG 2246-11375.

Fred Goodall, one of the New Zealand umpires who officiated in the Test series between New Zealand and the West Indies in 1980, and was shoulder-barged by bowler Colin Croft,  believes that West Indian captain Clive Lloyd captain could have avoided the situation.  Former West Indian skipper Brian Lara hinted at several unsporting instances including Holding kicking the stumps and Colin Croft shouldering Goodall during the 1980 tour while delivering the Marylebone Cricket Club’s 2017 'Spirit of Cricket Cowdrey' lecture at Lord’s last week (PTG 2241-11345, 7 September 2017), but Holding himself has a different perspective (PTG 2242-11355, 8 September 2017).

Speaking via telephone from his Wellington home, the now 80-year-old Goodall said, “it was a difficult situation at the time during the first and second Tests of that series. The West Indies players accused my colleague and myself of being cheats and challenged every decision. I was disappointed the [Clive Llyod] didn’t take more control.  It was Michael Holding who kicked stumps in Dunedin at a protest of decision of the other umpire John Hastie.  There were lots of LBWs but ball was keeping low. There were probably a lot turned down too! I had half a season umpiring in English county cricket in 1978 as part of a Commonwealth scholarship. Also remember umpires were volunteers back then and had regular [other] full time jobs”.

The West Indies Cricket Board is believed to have had sent an apology letter to the New Zealand Cricket over the issues. “I don’t remember what was in this apology letter”, said Goodhall.  "I believe the West Indies have had some fantastic players and I had a lot of admiration for them as a cricketing nation.  I have no ill feelings toward them.  It all should be left in the past and I prefer for it all not to be brought up again and again”.

CA unveils support for marriage equality.

Cricinfo.

Monday, 11 September 2017.

PTG 2246-11376.

James Sutherland, the Cricket Australia (CA) chief executive, has thrown the governing body's support behind a vote in Australia’s forthcoming postal plebiscite in favour of marriage equality.  CA on Monday revealed that the organisation had joined more than 1,600 Australian businesses, industries and sports in signing an open letter in support of a legislate change to allow same-sex couples to marry. Other sporting bodies to sign on include the Australian Football league, Basketball Australia, the Football Federation of Australia and the National Rugby League.

Sutherland said: "Cricket must be a welcoming environment for each and every one of us, regardless of gender, cultural heritage and - importantly in the current environment - sexuality.  That holds true whether you are pulling on pads for the first time in community cricket, representing your country, volunteering your time or working for a cricket organisation.  In 2014, we joined other leading sporting codes to announce our support of the Bingham Cup charter, which seeks to end homophobia in sport and ensure that all sports have inclusive and anti-discriminatory policies (PTG 1783-8902, 17 March 2016). There is still progress to be made across sport, and while cricket can always be doing more to support the LGBTI community, we hope that supporting marriage equality will send a strong message to the cricket community across Australia that we are a 'Sport For All'”.

A portion of the open letter signed by CA read: "We, the business, industry and sporting leaders of Australia, write to express our support for Marriage Equality. We support diversity in the workforce and recognise the rights of our lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) employees to live and work, free of prejudice and discrimination, with all the essential freedoms enjoyed by other members of our organisations and the broader community.  The rights and liberties of all individuals are sacrosanct. They are essential in the creation of a healthy, harmonious and open society. An equitable society, free of discrimination, also allows all employees to function at their best. Australia is a robust democracy however, we support seeing it treat all its citizens equally. Legalised discrimination in one area allows discrimination to flourish in all areas”.

CA has struck an increasingly progressive tone in recent years, this year downgrading its alcohol sponsorship so that Australian teams will no longer carry the brand of a beer manufacturer in line with a strategic goal to "develop more socially responsible partnerships". It has also aimed to broaden the game's audience by being as inclusive as possible, also stating in a recent strategy document: "Grow the number of Australians who feel connected with and passionately support the Big Bash clubs and Australian teams” (PTG 2242-11353, 8 September 2017). 

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 2,247

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

 

• Players’ union chief calls for change to CA governance [PTG 2247-11377]. 

Day-night fixtures to feature in Aussie U-19 series [PTG 2247-11378]. 

Lara needs to reflect again [PTG 2247-11379]. 

Australia's female cricketers leap ahead in pay race [PTG 2247-11380]. 

Introducing the ‘Heliscoop’ [PTG 2247-11381]. 

Players’ union chief calls for change to CA governance.

Andrew Wu. 

Fairfax Media.

Wednesday, 13 September 2017.

PTG 2247-11377.

The pay dispute is officially over but there is no peace yet with the head of the players union questioning Cricket Australia's (CA) governance in a bid to avoid a repeat of the messy saga (PTG 2222-11262, 6 August 2017).  Greg Dyer, the head of the Australian Cricketers Association (ACA), has taken a thinly veiled swipe at the governing body, saying it was the union and its membership – and not CA – who were the "real protectors" of the game.

In a letter written to players in the ACA’s ‘Onside' magazine, Dyer described the protracted negotiations, which most observers have concluded ended in a clear win for the players, as the "most difficult and troubling period" he had seen in his six years in the job.  A resolution was reached last month but not before more than 200 players were forced into unemployment (PTG 2185-11077, 1 July 2017), the cancelling of an Australia A tour (PTG 2205-11165, 18 July 2017), and untold damage to the game – at home and abroad.

The new CA-ACA five-year Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was officially signed last week, with players to receive back pay to 1 July later this month, but there is still much angst between the sides.  The ACA is desperate for culture change at CA Headquarters in Melbourne so that the next deal will be negotiated amid a more cordial climate (PTG 2201-11146, 14 July 2017). Key figures from both sides of the bitter feud remain in their posts a month after the dispute reached its climax. CA declined to comment.

Dyer wrote: "It is now incumbent on the ACA to do all we can to ensure the likes of this negotiation process never happens again.  There are questions to be asked within Australian cricket including governance, processes and decision-making areas, and the ACA stands willing to assist in improving the game in all areas”.

The ACA remains upset players were forced out of employment during months of "intensely difficult negotiations", thanking them for the solidarity they showed.  "The favourable conclusion which was reached in relation to the five-year MOU renewal, however, is testament to what has long been obvious to me – that the ACA and its membership are the real protectors of the future of cricket and that the current playing group, men and women, international and domestic cricketers, are people of the highest quality”, wrote Dyer.

The ACA chief went on to state: "The players were unreasonably put to significant test but presented a united front. Their resolve was amazing. At no point in Australian cricket history has the entire male and female playing group been more united than it was throughout the process and as it is now”.

Dyer paid tribute to the Australia A squad for their "significant cricketing sacrifice" in boycotting a tour of South Africa where they could have furthered their claims for international selection.  In his view: "It was a brave step and one every Australian cricketer, current and future, is indebted to that group for.  And putting it bluntly, is a decision that they shouldn't have been forced to make.  There's no doubt that the outcomes of these negotiations are to the benefit of the game and the development of cricket in Australia”.

Day-night fixtures to feature in Aussie U-19 series.

PTG Editor.

Tuesday, 12 September 2017.

PTG 2247-11378.

Cricket Australia’s (CA) Under-19 mens’ National Championship series in Tasmania in December will feature "first-ever" day-night matches for that annual competition.  The 50 over format day-night games will be played in both Launceston’s York Park and Hobart’s Bellerive Oval during the group stage, the event’s Grand Final also being played at Bellerive.  

CA’s National Talent Manager Greg Chappell said: “It’s exciting to be able to play four day-night fixtures at this year’s [U-19 series] which will only serve to add to the experience our players [take away from the event].  The best players in the tournament will be chosen in the squad that will represent to Australia in January’s U-19 World Cup in New Zealand.  CA is yet to announce who the match officials will be for what is a key milestone on the national body’s umpire development pathway.

Lara needs to reflect again.

Andy Bull.

The Guardian.

Tuesday, 12 September 2017.

PTG 2247-11379.

 

Former West Indian captain Brian Lara was at Lord’s last week where he gave the 17th Marylebone Cricket Club 'Spirit of Cricket Cowdrey' Lecture. During that presentation he spoke at length about how embarrassed he was by the way West Indies had played the game back when they were the best team in the world (PTG 2241-11345, 7 September 2017), comments that riled at least one of his former team mates (PTG 2242-11355, 8 September 2017).

Refreshing as it was to hear a West Indian player take on this topic, you can’t help but feel Lara’s lecture would have been more effective if he’d only been a little keener to talk about his own behaviour. We could have heard more, for instance, about why he refused to leave the crease when he was given out caught behind by Daryl Harper at Lord’s in 2004, or when he confronted umpires Steve Bucknor and David Orchard when he felt they’d failed to punish Australian bowler Glenn McGrath for spitting on the pitch at Antigua in 1999, or why he walked out on his own team during their tour of England in 1995. 

But Lara was very happy to remonstrate against his old team-mates, unfortunately less so to reflect on his own mistakes.

Australia's female cricketers leap ahead in pay race.

Daniel Brettig.

Cricinfo.

Tuesday, 12 September 2017.

PTG 2247-11380.

Australia's cricketers are now comfortably the highest paid female athletes in the country, with minimum retainers for the national team and domestic sides outstripping deals recently unveiled for top-tier womens’ contracts in soccer and the Australian Football League (AFL).  While 2017 has been a breakthrough year for female athletes across the country through the inaugural AFL womens' competition and this week's announcement of a new pay deal for female soccer players, the terms granted to cricketers under the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) completed last week have put them well ahead of the rest.

Figures obtained by this journalist show the minimum contract for a Cricket Australia (CA) contracted player (minus match payments, prize money and other performance bonuses), will be $A72,076 (£UK43,365) for 2017-18, as opposed to a "tier-one" representative of the national womens’ soccer team on $A41,000 (£UK24,935) a year. Listed women players at AFL clubs earn between $A5,000 (£UK3,030) and $A25,000 (£UK15,145) each.

All domestic contracted players - taking part in the 50 over format Womens’ National Cricket League (WNCL) and the Twenty20 Womens’ Bid Bash League (WBBL) - are entitled to deals worth $A25,659 (£UK15,545) from playing for their states in the WNCL, and a minimum $A10,292 (£UK6,235), average of $A19,926  (£UK12,070) for playing in the WBBL. By contrast, national league women’s soccer players will be paid wages ranging from $A10,000 to $A20,000  (£UK6,060-12,115).

Average wages for international female cricketers - factoring in match fees and performance bonuses plus WBBL retainers - will be around $A180,000 (£UK109,045) this austral summer season, rising to $A211,000 (£UK127,825) in 2021-22, the final year of the recently completed MoU. Average wages for domestic-only players will be around $A55,000 (£UK33,320) this coming season, rising to $A58,000 (£UK35,135) in 2021-22.

These figures, reached after a lengthy and often ugly period of negotiation and then dispute between CA and the Australian Cricketers Association (ACA), were always likely to be reached as both sides of the argument believed fundamentally in improving the lot of female players, not only by raising their wages but also by including all players in a single MoU for the first time.

However the women were caught in the middle of the dispute as all players were left out of contract after the previous MoU expired at the end of June, a deadline that passed in the middle of the World Cup contested in England this year - squad members signed short-term deals to enable to stay employed throughout the tournament. Ironically, the few weeks spent without pay for the women echoed the experiences of many in earlier years of their careers, as the vice-captain Alex Blackwell has said.

"Women would have to take massive chunks of leave without pay, if not sacrifice their job, to go on tour to play for Australia”, Blackwell said in the ACA's ‘Onside' magazine. "Over my career I have known team-mates of mine who have lost their jobs from being selected for their country and having to say to their employer, 'I'm away for five weeks'. What would happen if that player got injured two days into the tour, would be that they lose the financial benefit of the tour and be in a really poor and vulnerable position".

"This the first time that a female player group has come under an MoU, and for it to be one MoU combined is a historic event. I didn't always feel like we were respected as well as we could have been in terms of the part we play in growing the game. So, that's the first thing that this MoU makes me feel; like there has been a switch, and we are now partners in growing the game into something that is bigger and better."

CA has made a concerted effort to be more inclusive in recent years, and one of the battlegrounds of the pay war was the board's claims that the players association had shown as much willingness to strive for gender equity - a claim the ACA rejected. Its recent strategy document for the next five years made no secret of CA's desire to attract more women to the game as both fans and players, with major pay increases for female elite players a key part of their approach (PTG 2242-11353, 8 September 2017). 

While the WBBL is currently played concurrently with the BBL, CA has flagged plans to move the tournament to a standalone slot in the calendar in October. The men's and women's World T20 tournaments to be hosted by Australia in 2020 will be played in separate slots, the women in February-March and the men in October-November.

Introducing the ‘Heliscoop’.

PTG Editor.

Tuesday, 12 September 2017.

PTG 2247-11381.

The England physical disability side's Hugo Hammond used a somewhat unusual batting style in scoring a boundary in a recent match, making a number of significant movements prior to the bowler delivering the ball.  The video shows that as the bowler approaches the wicket in his run up, Hammond looks as if he is using his bat to swat some flies, then he goes into a reverse baseball batter’s stance, before taking up a normal stance outside his off stump then using a ramp shot to flick the ball over his shoulder. The internet has christened his innovative style the ‘heliscoop’.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 2,248

Thursday, 14 September 2017

 

• Blast outside Kabul cricket stadium kills three [PTG 2248-11383]. 

• Pembroke champions Carew face ‘disrepute' charge [PTG 2248-11384]. 

• Cricket needs Pakistan safe at home [PTG 2248-11385]. 

• Counties, MCC to lose seats at top table of English cricket [PTG 2248-11386]. 

Blast outside Kabul cricket stadium kills three.

PTG Editor.

Thursday, 14 September 2017.

PTG 2248-11383.

A suicide bombing killed a policeman and two civilians, and injured two others, outside a cricket stadium in the Afghan capital of Kabul on Wednesday afternoon.  The blast occurred near one of the gates of the stadium while a game in the Afghanistan Cricket Board’s (ACB) domestic Twenty20 series was being played, The ACB's website says the Boost Defenders were playing the Mis-e-Ainak Knights when the bomb went off.

'Cricinfo’ says the ACB T20 league comprises six teams and features about two dozen overseas players from South Africa, West Indies, Zimbabwe, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Oman. The Defenders-Knights match was the second game of the day.  The game was stopped briefly, but once the Afghanistan government-appointed security gave the clearance, it resumed.

Afghanistan was inducted as the 12th Full Member by the International Cricket Council in June (PTG 2174-11023, 23 June 2017). The security situation has not permitted any international cricket to be played in the war-torn country. An ACB spokesman said that the Afghanistan government was involved in providing security for the tournament. 

Pembroke champions Carew face ‘disrepute' charge.

BBC News.

Thursday, 14 September 2017.

PTG 2248-11384.

Carew Cricket Club in south-west Wales has been charged with bringing the game into disrepute following their controversial declaration that allowed them to win the Pembroke league title late last month (PTG 2240-11335, 6 September 2017).  Cresselly won their 'title-deciding' match against Carew but it was the latter who were champions after they declared on 1/18  to deny Cresselly the chance of securing any batting or bowling bonus points.  Carew and captain Brian Hall will face a disciplinary hearing on Tuesday week.

Pembroke County Cricket Club, which is responsible for enforcing the regulations within Pembrokeshire cricket, set up a sub-committee to investigate the matter earlier this month.  A league statement issued at the time said it had "received several written complaints concerning the conduct of both Carew CC and their captain, Brian Hall, following their match with Cresselly”. 

In accordance with the procedures as outlined in the county handbook a disciplinary sub-committee met [last] Monday.  As a result of that meeting Carew have been "charged with bringing the county cricket club into disrepute”.  "Mr Hall has been charged with a failure in his duties as a captain in ensuring the game was played within the spirit of cricket”.  

League officials are unsure at the moment what disciplinary action could be taken if the club or captain are found guilty. The most extreme punishment for the club could see them stripped of the league title.  Carew have declined to comment following the announcement of the disciplinary hearings.

Cricket needs Pakistan safe at home.

Mike Atherton.

The Times.

Thursday, 14 September 2017.

PTG 2248-11385.

When he talked about the shooting three years afterwards, umpire Ahsan Raza said that two things had saved his life. An International Cricket Council (ICC) handbook — not so thick as you might think given cricket’s myriad laws and regulations — that protected his stomach a little and Chris Broad, the match referee, who in the aftermath of the attack had the wherewithal to try to stem the bleeding.

Raza was the reserve umpire for the Test between Pakistan and Sri Lanka that was abandoned after the terrorist attack in Lahore in March 2009 (PTG 380-2021, 4 March 2009), which resulted in cricketing exile for Pakistan and near death for him. He took two bullet wounds, one to the lung, remained in a coma for three days and then in intensive care for 27 more as he recovered. The surgeons used 20 pints of blood to stabilise him and 80 stitches to sew up the tear to his stomach (PTG 381-2022, 5 March 2009).

He couldn’t walk for six months and few thought he would umpire again (PTG 391-2077, 19 March 2009). On Tuesday, he was one of the standing umpires for the opening match of the World XI v Pakistan T20 series (PTG 2243-11357, 9 September 2017), intended to be the first step towards the return of more regular international cricket to the country. When he recovered fully, Raza said it was his dream to stand in international cricket. When he achieved that, he said it was his dream for international cricket to return to Lahore.

There were stories like that everywhere you looked this week. One observer posted a tweet about a barber in Bahawalpur who was so desperate for a ticket to the match that he was offering free haircuts for a year. Another reporter found spectators who had travelled 800 km to be there. Another, who had been at the abandoned match in 2009, had travelled for more than 26 hours to make the game.

Then there were the players, of course, the ten in the Pakistan squad who had never played in a home international, five of whom made the starting XI on Tuesday, and who played in front of home support in an international for the first time.

This is the reality that Pakistan’s cricketers have coped with for the past eight years through no fault of their own, isolated as they have been in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) because of security concerns. For many of them, career highlights have come in “home” Tests that have been home only in name. Now, international cricket has returned to Pakistan this week in the shape of a World XI — made up of cricketers from seven nations, but not, notably, India. Next month, Sri Lanka will return to Pakistan for a T20 match for the first time since they were targeted (PTG 2240-11339, 6 September 2017), although the remainder of the series will take place in the UAE. Sri Lanka’s willingness to come back depends on the smooth incident-free return of international cricket this week (PTG 2229-11292, 14 August 2017).

What steps have been taken? As a consequence of the financial hit taken during 2009 and 2010 and subsequent loss of revenues, the Pakistan Cricket Board asked the ICC for financial help. Agreement has been reached whereby the ICC will underwrite the security arrangements for any international cricket played in Pakistan, and for the next three years of the Pakistan Super League.

Still, there is not much long-term future if a team cannot play in front of its supporters and cricket is not widespread enough globally to cast Pakistan permanently into the wilderness. Fingers crossed, then, for an incident-free few days. For Ahsan Raza, Tuesday’s experience must have felt, in more ways than one, like something of a miracle.

Counties, MCC to lose seats at top table of English cricket.

Nick Hoult.

Thursday, 14 September 2017.

PTG 2248-11386.

The counties and the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) will lose their seats at the top table of English cricket’s decision making body in a shake up of governance of the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB).  To comply with UK government’s 'Sport England' rules, the ECB is looking to make its executive board entirely independent which will mean the two county representatives and MCC will be forced to stand down.

Andy Nash, the Somerset chairman, and Richard Thompson, the chairman of Surrey, are the current county representatives on the board. Both will have to resign from their county roles if they wish to remain on the ECB’s executive board should the changes be agreed. MCC president Matthew Fleming is in the same position. 

The plans are still in the discussion phase but resistance among the counties is not thought to be strong at the moment and the changes are expected to be voted through.  The county seats on the ECB board are currently decided by a vote, with Thompson re-elected last year. One board member represents the Test match grounds, the other the smaller counties.

At the moment the Test match counties are preoccupied with the allocation process for the next round of international cricket matches beyond 2019. The ECB has dropped the bidding process and will instead allocate matches through a panel chaired by Ian Lovett, the board’s deputy chairman.  The matches and the host grounds of the eight new Twenty20 teams will be allocated by next February.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 2,249

Friday, 15 September 2017

 

• Coaches found murdered at cricket club in Pretoria [PTG 2249-11387]. 

• Eight umpires to officiate in Indoor World Cup [PTG 2249-11388]. 

• Outfield for Bangladesh-Australia Mirpur Test rated ‘poor’ [PTG 2249-11389]. 

Perth Stadium to be opened with ‘Ashes’ ODI? [PTG 2249-11390]. 

Coaches found murdered at cricket club in Pretoria.

PTG Editor.

Friday, 15 September 2017.

PTG 2249-11387.

Two cricket coaches were found murdered and two others severely injured at the Laudium Cricket Club (LCC) in Centurion, a suburb of Pretoria, on Thursday morning.  A Gauteng Police spokesperson said the bodies were discovered by a community member in the men's bathroom at the club around 7 a.m. The two deceased have been named as Given Nkosi, 24, and Charlson Maseko, 26, both LCC coaches, while those seriously injured are Cricket South Africa (CSA) Mini-Cricket Co-Ordinator Kagiso Masubelele, 27, and Laudium Hub Head Coach and Co-Ordinator Obed Harvey Agbomadzie, 27.

All four coaches were staying at the stadium's living quarters where they shared two rooms.  Masubelele and Agbomadzie were found in one of the rooms and have since been admitted to hospital where reports say their condition is “critical".  A resident in the area who went to the scene said the double murder has shocked the community. According to him there had been a number of attacks at sports stadiums in the area in recent weeks, however, he did not think the attacks were related.  The motive of the murder and assault is as yet unknown. 

CSA Chief Executive Haroon Lorgat said in a statement: “This has come as a huge shock to the entire [CSA] Family". “These are all dedicated cricket administrators and coaches who have been making a huge difference to the communities in which they operate, providing an important source of upliftment and hope, particularly to our youth.  Indeed, what they have been doing goes far beyond the game of cricket.  On behalf of the CSA Family I extend our deepest condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of those who have lost their lives, and we pray that those who are injured will make a quick and complete recovery".

Northerns Cricket Union Chief Executive Jacques Faul said: “This is devastating news for the Northerns cricket community.  They have been a highly valued and integral part of our talent pipeline development program, particularly in the Laudium community.  On behalf of the Northerns cricket family I extend our deepest sympathy, prayers and support to the family, friends and colleagues of all involved”.

The Laudium ground was used during the 2005 Women's Cricket World Cup when it hosted five group-stage matches. Two other women's One Day Internationals (ODI) have also been played there, plus an Under-19 ODI and two List A games.

Eight umpires to officiate in Indoor World Cup.

PTG Editor.

Thursday, 14 September 2017.

PTG 2249-11388.

Eight umpires from four countries have been named to officiate in the World Indoor Cricket Federation’s tenth World Cup in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).  The tournament, which gets underway in Dubai on Saturday and runs for a week, will see teams from Australia, England, India, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, South Africa, Sri Lanka and the UAE compete in four divisions: Open Men, Open Women, 21 and Under Men and 21 and Under Women.

Three of the umpires are from Australia, Michael Guest, Ben Ridgway and Andrew Villiers, two from New Zealand, Chris Fitzgerald and Wayne Robertson, another two from South Africa, Elton Daniels and Dino De Pentieiros, and Ashik Kuniyil from the UAE.  Cricket Australia has partnered with the Emirates Cricket Board to host the event.  Around 400 players and officials are expected to be involved in the series.

Outfield for Bangladesh-Australia Mirpur Test rated ‘poor’.

PTG Editor.

Thursday, 14 September 2017.

PTG 2249-11389.

 

The outfield at the Shere Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur, where Bangladesh and Australia played the first match of their recently completed two-Test series late last month, has been officially rated as “poor” by match referee Jeff Crowe. In his post-match report, which he is required to submit under the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) 'Pitch and Outfield Monitoring Process', Crowe expressed concern over the quality of the outfield.

 

That report has been forwarded to the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) which now has 14 days to provide its response to the ICC.  That response will be reviewed by the ICC’s General Manager Cricket, Geoff Allardice, and Ranjan Madugalle the world body’s chief match referee.

ICC regulations set down the sanction that will apply should the original ‘poor’ rating be upheld.  For a “first occasion” a warning and/or a fine not exceeding $US15,000 ($A18,755, £UK11,260) will be given together with a directive for appropriate corrective action could apply; while for "second and further occasions” within a period of five years of the previous finding a fine "not exceeding $US30,000 ($A37,510, £UK22,520) together with a directive for appropriate corrective action is applicable.

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

A year ago the ICC handed official warnings to the Kingsmead ground in Durban and the Queen's Park Oval in Port of Spain following a Test between South Africa and New Zealand and a West Indies-India Test respectively (PTG 1920-9644 9 September 2016).  The match referees at both matches officially rated the outfields “poor” (PTG 1907-9564, 25 August 2016).

Perth Stadium to be opened with ‘Ashes’ ODI?

John Townsend.

The West Australian.

Thursday, 14 September 2017.

PTG 2249-11390.

Cricket is set to win the race to open the new Perth Stadium with the State Government and Cricket Australia (CA) confident of holding a One Day International (ODI) at the venue in January.  Australia are due to host England in the Western Australian (WA) capital a week after the stadium is due to open, the ODI being scheduled at the WACA Ground if the Burswood venue is not ready.

While the WA Government has suggested opening the $A1.4 billion (£UK835 m) stadium with an Australian Football League women’s match in February and the National Rugby League plans to hold a double-header at the venue in March, cricket could beat both codes with a record-breaking launch. Sport Minister Mick Murray said on Wednesday evening a final decision would be made in November but construction was on track to allow the one-dayer to go ahead.  Stadium sources indicated that the advanced pace of construction meant only an unforeseen event would prevent the stadium being ready for international sport in the new year.

CA chief executive James Sutherland, who last week hinted at a future “pink ball” Test there (PTG 2245-11368, 11 September 2017), underlined cricket’s eagerness to open the stadium and said he had received positive indications that it would happen.  

He said: “Cricket was the first sport to sign up to the Perth Stadium so it makes sense that cricket opens [it].  We put up a strong push to have the [Ashes] Test match played there but the unfortunately the timing didn’t quite work with everything needing to be rock solid to make it a success.  An [ODI] against England would be a great event and a great way to launch the stadium.  It is not our call to make judgment on the [readiness of the] stadium but cricket is putting its best foot forward and we have worked very hard with government to make sure everyone understands the things necessary to put on a big international match”.

The inaugural ODI at the new stadium would be expected to draw close to 60,000 spectators – beating both the WA record sports crowd of 52,781 at the 1979 Western Australia Football League grand final and the 50,000 who packed Perry Lakes for the opening of the 1962 Commonwealth Games.  WA’s biggest cricket crowd is the 28,210 who saw Australia play South Africa at the WACA in 1993-94.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 2,250

Saturday, 16 September 2017

 

• ZC recalls players after Kabul blast, match officials work on [PTG 2250-11391]. 

• New playing conditions focus for ICC officials’ conference [PTG 2250-11392]. 

• ICC match referee appointed Sri Lanka chief selector [PTG 2250-11393]. 

• Grassroots game may miss out on CA largesse [PTG 2250-11394]. 

• Pakistan remains off-limits for Australian teams [PTG 2250-11395]. 

ZC recalls players after Kabul blast, match officials work on.

Associated Press.

Friday, 15 September 2017.

PTG 2250-11391.

Zimbabwe have ordered nine of its cricketers playing in the Afghanistan Cricket Board’s (ACB) Shpageeza Twenty20 league to return home following a deadly suicide bombing outside a stadium on Wednesday while a game was in progress (PTG 2248-11383, 14 September 2017). Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) says the nine, which include Test players Elton Chigumbura, Hamilton Masakadza, Sikandar Raza and Richmond Mutumbami, are on their way home. 

ZC revoked the ‘No Objection Certificates' it issued to the players to allow them to go to Afghanistan. It says “ZC will not under any circumstances compromise on matters of player safety”.  Officials said three people were killed and 12 wounded in the blast outside the Alokozay Kabul International Cricket Ground. A match being played at the time continued after a short break.  All six teams in the Shpageeza Cricket League have foreign players, a total of two dozen from South Africa, West Indies, Zimbabwe, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Oman being involved.

Non Afghanis are also members of the league’s match officials panel.  Graeme Labrooy, who played at Test level for Sri Lanka and is now a member of the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) second-tier Regional Referees Panel (PTG 2250-11393 below), is there to oversee matches, while India-born but Singapore-based Sarika Prasad has multiple roles that include match referee and on-field and “television umpire” spots. Both men are believed to be working in Kabul under contracts struck with the ACB. The other umpires are all from Afghanistan, they being: Ahmed Shah Durrani, Mehmood Kharotai, Ahmed Shah Pakteen, Izatullah Safi and Bismillah Shinwari.  Durrani and Pakteen are members of the ICC’s third-tier umpires panel, while Prasad is a former member of that group.

At the time of the bomb blast, which saw those on-field “hit the ground”, Shinwari and Prasad were on-field, Pakteen was the television umpire and Labrooy the referee.  Information available suggests another Afghani, Samiullah Stanikzai, has been the single scorer for all ten games played to date.  The tournament is due to end next Friday with the final after a series that will have involved a total of twenty-one matches.

New playing conditions focus for ICC officials’ conference.

PTG Editor.

Saturday, 16 September 2017.

PTG 2250-11392.

The implementation of new playing conditions, most of which result from the new Laws Code, were "top of the agenda” at the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) annual three-day Elite Panel Conference that ended in Dubai on Friday. Members of the ICC’s Elite Panel of Match Referees, Elite Umpires Panel (EUP), its Emerging Panel and umpire coaches attended the conference, a gathering that the ICC says "gave the officials an opportunity to discuss the conduct of the game and share their experiences”.

In addition to matters related to Laws changes, other issues on the table are said to include changes to the use and operation of the Umpire Decision Review System plus other “aspects” such as "players’ conduct, over-rates and other pertinent matters in group discussions”.  The Test series between Bangladesh and South Africa, and the one between Pakistan and Sri Lanka, which get underway on Thursday week, will be the first to be played under the new regulations.

 

Adrian Griffith, the ICC’;s Umpires and Referees manager, is quoted as saying: "We always use this occasion to nurture team building. This is a time when all of us get to put our heads together to ensure that the game is run in the best possible manner on the field.  This is that one time in the year that we get everyone together. It is time to refresh, review, rejuvenate and share each other’s experiences over the last year and then go over any new regulations”.

Rajan Madugalle, the ICC’s chief match referee said: “This year is more significant because there are changes in the laws and also in the playing conditions. Since we have to start rolling them out from 28 September, it was important that all of us meet and go through them as a refresher, so that we interpret them uniformly and on a consistent basis”.  EUP member Rod Tucker said: “Every year the laws and playing conditions change slightly, so it is great that we can all get together and actually discuss them together and come away with a consistent point of view and interpretation. So it is crucial that we get together every September”.

ICC match referee appointed Sri Lanka chief selector.

Andrew Fidel Fernando.

Cricinfo.

Friday, 15 September 2017.

PTG 2250-11393.

Former Sri Lanka seamer Graeme Labrooy, who is currently a member of the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) second-tier Regional Referees Panel (RRP), will be Sri Lanka's next chief selector. Both Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) president Thilanga Sumathipala and Labrooy himself confirmed the development on Friday.  It is as yet unclear who will serve in Labrooy's committee, which SLC has said it will announce on Monday.  "I have given my consent to SLC”, Labrooy said. "We'll go through the names and confirm the other selectors later”.

Labrooy, who is currently in Afghanistan (PTG 2250-11391 above), largely looks after, as an RRP member, lower level internationals than Sri Lanka ordinarily plays. As such, there is a potential conflict of interest with his new role as chief selector. He is seeking clarification from ICC as to how he might proceed, he said.  Though a 25-member preliminary squad for the Tests against Pakistan has already been chosen, the new selection committee's first assignment will be to finalise the 15 that will travel to the United Arab Emirates - including Sri Lanka's maiden day-night Test - later this month (PTG 2240-11339, 6 September 2017).

Labrooy, 53, played nine Tests and 44 One Day Internationals (ODI) for Sri Lanka between 1986 and 1992. He has 27 Test wickets to his name - a tally that memorably includes a five-wicket haul in Brisbane.  He has overseen 29 ODIs and 31 Twenty20 Internationals played by second-tier nations since 2012.

Grassroots game may miss out on CA largesse.

Andrew Faulkner.

The Australian.

Saturday, 16 September 2017.

PTG 2250-11394.

Struggling clubs in Australia who are hoping for a share of the rivers of gold promised to flow from the pay peace between Cricket Australia (CA) and the Australian Cricketers’ Association (ACA), would do well to lower their expectations.  Much of the extra money will be spent on hiring “regional cricket managers” and technology upgrades to the MyCricket App.  Earlier this week ACA president Greg Dyer expressed concerns about CA’s general approach to governing the game (PTG 2247-11377, 13 September 2017).

Clubs are in dire need of money for nets, pitch covers and changerooms — especially separate dressing rooms to accommodate the growth of the women’s game.  More money for grassroots was spruiked by both CA and the ACA during the long pay dispute.  More than that, both sides used grassroots as a weapon in the ­negotiations and the ensuing ­public relations war (PTG 2185-11077, 1 July 2017).

The extra money for local cricket was reportedly the most significant development in the players’ pay deal struck last month.  But under the new CA-ACA Memorandum of Understanding, cricket’s grassroots will get only an extra $A11 million (£UK6.5 m) a year over the next five years — to tackle an infrastructure deficit of $A10 billion (£UK5.89 bn).  Out of that money, a yet-to-be determined number of full-time “regional cricket managers” will be hired to grow the game in ­communities.  CA says the managers will visit clubs, help run new junior formats, set up girls’ competitions, and visit schools.  

The extra $A11 m — to take the spending to $A51 m (£UK30) a year — will also fund improvements to the MyCricket App.  Making it easier to use will cut the time taken to submit match ­returns and thus make life easier for volunteers, CA says.  The extra $A11 m a year will also have to cover local infrastructure upgrades.  Since it was set up in 2014, the National Community Facilities Funding Scheme has contributed $A4.5 m (£UK2.6 m) towards $A41.6 m (£UK24.5 m) in work upgrading local facilities.  The $A37.1 m (£UK21.8 m) balance has been funded by governments and ­councils, which often own local ovals and clubrooms.

Encouraging recalcitrant councils — often in the thrall of consultants and enamoured by pet projects of marginal merit — to spend more money on cricket is a thorny problem for CA.  Burdened with the lead weight of rising rates and charges, coupled with dwindling sponsorship and bar takings sent plummeting by modern social trends, local clubs are being forced to hike subscriptions to simply survive.  This exacerbates what is perhaps the game’s biggest issue — the cost of playing.

In a time of stagnating real wages, buying bats or helmets or even whites for junior players is a big impost for struggling families.  Faced with kitting out a child for $A1,000 (£UK590) or more, and paying hundreds in subscriptions, little wonder parents are choosing cheaper sports or their offspring.  Given the focus on grassroots cricket CA was asked to define the word. It said “cricket associations and their clubs … a level down from state associations … right down to junior cricket”.

Grassroots was again front and centre in CA’s five-year strategy released last week (PTG 2242-11353, 8 September 2017). Reaching down to help grassroots cricket was one of the strategy’s “key themes”.  But this is a retreat from the past summer, when CA chairman David Peever said Australian grassroots would be “the central component” of the five-year plan (PTG 2017-10208, 1 January 2017), just as the Big Bash had been the main priority the ­previous five years.

When the strategy was unveiled last week, grassroots had to share the stage with other areas of the game.  “Among the key themes are a focus on women and girls, grassroots and junior cricket, and growth in the Big Bash leagues”, CA said, but there was no mention of match officials (PTG 2243-11359, 9 September 2017).

After the strategy’s release CA chief executive James Sutherland embarked on a national tour that CA said would “showcase grassroots cricket like never before”.  “Our recent facilities audit — the first complete survey by any sport of all its facilities around the country — found that just 20 per cent have changing rooms that are suitable for women and girls”, ­Sutherland said.  “It also told us that too many cricket clubs do not have enough practice facilities.  And that many new communities in our major cities have no sporting facilities at all.  It is hard for any sport to look for growth if the basics aren’t right, and this strategy shows that cricket is determined to act as one in meeting that challenge”.

Pakistan remains off-limits for Australian teams.

Phil Lutton.

Fairfax Media.

Friday, 15 September 2017.

PTG 2250-11395.

Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland says Pakistan still remains off-limits for touring Australian teams despite a successful start to a trio of World XI T20 matches being played in Lahore.  A number of Australians, including Ben Cutting, Tim Paine and George Bailey, are involved in the matches which have been seen as a major breakthrough for the Pakistan Cricket Board as it attempts to start hosting meaningful games again.  South Africa’s Faf du Plessis captains the World XI side, which also features other high-profile South Africans Hashim Amla, Morne Morkel and Imran Tahir.

Since 2009 when terrorists attacked the Sri Lankan team bus, only Zimbabwe (May 2015) have toured the cricket-mad nation. Australian haven't set foot on Pakistan soil since a three-Test, three-ODI series in 1998-99.  Australia aren't due to play Pakistan again for 18 months. They toured Australia last summer, making history by playing the first pink ball Test at the Gabba.

Sutherland said they expected to play in the UAE next time the sides met but said he would love nothing more than to see Pakistan put themselves in a position where they could confidently host top-level international sides.  "I've got mixed feelings about this one. Certainly, from Pakistan's perspective, I really do hope they can get to a situation where they can host international cricket again on a more regular basis.  At the same time, we'll take an appropriately conservative approach on security. We're not going to compromise on the safety and security of our employees".

The chief executive was on south-east Queensland's Gold Coast on Thursday, a region he hopes can host short forms of the game. CA has been in discussions to stage some matches at Carrara Stadium, capacity 25,000, the home of a top flight Australian Rules Football team and a main venue of next year's Commonwealth Games. "We're in discussions with the relevant parties about the possibility of making use of the stadium and bringing top-level cricket to the Gold Coast, perhaps Big Bash League matches, maybe taking it so far as international one-day or T20 matches. We're keen to explore that”, he said.  "Right from the outset, the stadium was designed to accommodate cricket. There's a tub in the middle for a turf wicket. It's all easily used. All the planning is there. It's just a matter of getting the timing right. We're keen to do it”.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 2,251

Sunday, 17 September 2017

 

• SLC hands out fines, hefty suspensions, for ‘spirit’ breach [PTG 2251-11396]. 

• Stand collapse leaves at least three injured [PTG 2251-11397]. 

SLC hands out fines, hefty suspensions, for ‘spirit’ breach.

PTG Editor.

Sunday, 17 September 2017.

PTG 2251-11396.

Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) has suspended all players and coaches of two first-class teams from "all cricket-related activities" for a year, their respective captains Chamara Silva and Manoj Deshapriya for two years each, and fined both their clubs 500,000 Rupees ($A4,085, (£UK2,405), because of how they played a match towards the end of the 2016 -17 season last January (PTG 2034-10301, 30 January 2017).  The match result, which has now been declared null and void, eventually helped the Panadura Sports Club (PSC) gain promotion from SLC’s Tier ‘B’ first class competition to Tier ‘A’, and to the Kalutara Physical Cultural Centre (KPCC) club avoiding relegation from Tier ‘B’ to a lower competition.  

In handing down its findings eight months after the event, the SLC committee of inquiry into the matter emphasised in a statement that the two teams "have been found guilty of misconduct and not playing to the Spirit of the game, and NOT of match fixing”.  The committee itself used capital letters for the word NOT in order to emphasis the nature of its findings.

Score sheets available for the match indicate that KPCC, who were sent it, were all out for 390 nine overs into day two.  By the end of day two PSC were 2/180 in reply in their first innings after having faced just 45 overs at 4.0 runs per over, for a total day two play of just 54 overs, but just why it was a short day is not clear.  But then when play resumed on the third and last day they got a move on adding 243 in just 22.3 overs at a run-rate of 10.8 to take a 33 run first innings lead.  

The remaining two innings of the match that final day were also played at what one report called “a breakneck pace”, KYCC being bowled out for 197 in 22.5 overs in the second innings, a run rate of 8.6, to give them an overall lead of 164, before PSC scored 7/167 in 13.4 overs at 11.9 per over to win the game. PSC had a maximum of 15 overs remaining to push for victory in its second innings before the day’s play was to end.  At one stage during that last day 13 overs are said to have been bowled in just 20 minutes.

PSC’s outright win allowed it to eventually win the Tier ‘B’ championship by just 9 points ahead of the Sri Lanka Ports Authority Cricket Club (SPACC) which later, amongst much media comment, lodged a complaint with the SLC about the PSC-KYCC result (PTG 2035-10311, 31 January 2017).  In addition to the fines and player suspensions, the inquiry also declared the match a no result and adjusted the 2016-17 Tier ‘B’ points table accordingly.  That means PSC will be immediately relegated back to Tier 'B' while KYCC will no longer play first-class cricket for they are being demoted from Tier ‘B’, and SPACC is now expected to play in Tier ‘A’ during the forthcoming 2017-18 season.

Now that the SLC’s independent panel has handed down its findings on the conduct of the clubs, it says the board now plans to "conduct an inquiry against [sic] the Match Officiàls and take appropriate action”.  The umpires for the game were Jayantha de Silva and Ajith Dissanayake and the referee Shihabdeen Faumi.  For Faumi, who played first class cricket, it was his tenth match as a first class referee, while de Silva and Dissanayake were onground in their 14th and 142nd respectively, the latter going on to stand in three more first class games during the remainder of the 2016-17 season. 

Suspended PSC captain Silva, who played 11 Tests, 75 One Day Internationals and 16 Twenty20 Internationals for his country in the period from 1999-2012, reported in sick prior to play getting underway on day three and is said to be likely to appeal his ban.  SLC vice president K Mathivanan told Cricinfo: "For any team the captain is responsible”.  Although there has been speculation that Silva deliberately stayed away from the final day's play because he knew something was afoot, Mathivanan suggested the board did accept that theory.  "How do you know that he didn't agree [to manipulate the result]? He could have come and given evidence in front of the independent committee [that inquired into the incident]. [But] he never did”.

And as to why the administrators of each club appear to have been given relatively light sentences, Mathivanan said: "If the independent committee has not found evidence against administrators, we can't punish them. We based [the punishment] on the [independent committee’s] findings”.

Stand collapse leaves at least three injured.

PTG Editor.

Sunday, 17 September 2017.

PTG 2251-11397.

A stand at the Riverside ground in Chester-le-Street collapsed during Saturday’s England-West indies Twenty20 International on Saturday evening leaving at least three spectators injured.  The seating area caved in shortly before 9.30 p.m. while England were batting and there were reports that a female spectator was injured after falling through the hole.  Hundreds are said to have been evacuated from that area of the stand following the incident. Durham County Cricket Club said in a statement: The stand is a permanent fixture at the venue and had passed inspections in the week prior to the match”.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 2,252

Monday, 18 September 2017

 

• Scorers amongst 27 banned by SLC for match 'misconduct’ [PTG 2252-11398]. 

• ‘Send offs’ for ‘violence’, but no ’sin bin’, in CA PCs [PTG 2252-11399]. 

• ‘We didn’t get the pitches we asked for’, says Lankan bowler [PTG 2252-11400]. 

• CA adds two umpires to its national pathway [PTG 2252-11401]. 

Scorers amongst 27 banned by SLC for match 'misconduct’

PTG Editor. 

Sunday, 17 September 2017.

PTG 2252-11398.

Sri Lanka Cricket’s (SLC) investigation into a Tier ‘B’ first class match played last January laid three charges against those involved but only one was upheld.  It was enough though, nearly eight months after the game ended, for a reported total of 27 people, 22 players plus coaches, managers and, say reports, even the scorers of both sides, neither of whom have not been named, to be banned from the game for at least a year, and the two captains for two years, for "misconduct and not playing to the Spirit of the game” (PTG 2251-11396, 17 September 2017)

The first charge—the violation of rules and regulations of the tournament—was dismissed due to "erroneous framing of charges”, says a report in Colombo’s ’Sunday Times’ newspaper.  The same applied to the third charge laid, a violation of the Player Code of Conduct, the ’Times’ stating it was set aside "due to procedural errors as well as misinterpretation of the tournament and/or MCC/ICC [Marylebone Cricket Club and International Cricket Council] Laws”. 

However, charge two relating to playing against the spirit of the game, was upheld, and the inquiry into the match recommended appropriate punishments in accordance of Section 30 (c) of the SLC constitution.   That section says:  “Upon any misconduct being proved to the satisfaction of the Executive Committee of the SLC, the Executive Committee shall have the power to order the offending player, official, association or club; (i) to be suspended from cricket, cricket management or representation and/or from membership of SLC either ‘sine die’ or for the stated term; or (ii) To be dealt with any such other manner as SLC may deem fit”. 

The newspaper report says that "it is interesting to note that administrators of both clubs - who are part of the current SLC Executive Committee - have been let off on grounds that there was no evidence against them". SLC vice president K Mathivanan has been quoted by Cricinfo as saying: "If the independent committee has not found evidence against administrators, we can't punish them. We based [the punishment] on the [independent committee’s] findings”.

Both clubs, including former Sri Lankan international Chamara Silva who was captain of one of the sides but is said to have called in sick on the day of the match under question, are said to have refused to give verbal or written submissions to the inquiry "despite being given sufficient time to do so”, says ’The Times’.  The score sheet lists Silva as “absent hurt” in his side’s first innings, but ’The Times’ adds that his team mate Charitha Fernando, another Sri Lanka international "retired to the pavilion [during his side's first innings] and took no further part in the game after he felt something fishy” was going on.  

Fernando, who played 9 Tests, 17 One Day Internationals for Sri Lanka in the period from 2001-03, is shown by score sheets as having “retired hurt’ on 45, 34 of which were scored via boundaries, after a stay at the crease that lasted 46 balls.  The nature of his injury is not recorded but like Silva he did not bat in his side’s second innings at the end of day three.  

Interestingly their side finished seven wickets down in that second stint at the crease, the pair being the only members of their team who did not bat in what was a successful run chase for an outright win.  It is not known what would have happened if their side had lost an eighth wicket in that chase for if they had been unavailable it would have been their side, and not their opponents, that would have suffered an outright loss.

‘Send offs’ for ‘violence’, but no ’sin bin’, in CA PCs.

PTG Editor.

Sunday, 17 September 2017.

PTG 2252-11399.

Umpires will have the ability to send off players from the field in Cricket Australia (CA) sponsored matches in response to "the most serious incidents of player misconduct, such as violence on the field”, which are all Level 4 offences, according to Playing Conditions (PC) released for CA’s 2017-18 domestic List A series next month.  CA has though, like the International Cricket Council, not included the ‘sin bin’, or ‘temporary' dismissal from the match provision that has been included in the game’s new Laws Code (PTG 2102-10650, 12 April 2017).   

Under the relevant CA Playing Condition, which is likely to also be included in the national body’s rules for first class, List A, Twenty20 and other mens’ and womens’ domestic fixtures when they are eventually released, send off or ‘red card’ offences are described as: "threatening to assault an umpire”, "making inappropriate and deliberate physical contact with an umpire”, "physically assaulting a player or any other person”, and "committing any other act of violence”.  

In such circumstances the new Law says that in addition to the departure of the player concerned, a substitute for them will not be allowed for the rest of the game and five penalty runs are to be awarded to the opposing side.  If the player is fielding they are not allowed to be replaced, if bowling another player must complete their over, and should a batsman transgress in such a way they will be ‘Retired Out’, and should nine wickets be down at the time of the offence, their team’s innings will be deemed completed. Should the player concerned be on-field as a wicket-keeper, "only a nominated player [as listed on the team sheet] may keep wicket, even if another fielder becomes injured or ill and is replaced by a substitute".

CA’s Playing Conditions state that if "either umpire considers that a player has committed one of these offences at any time during the match, the umpire concerned shall call and signal Dead ball. This call may be delayed until the umpire is satisfied that it will not disadvantage the non-offending side.  The umpire concerned shall report the matter to the other umpire and together they shall decide whether an offence has been committed”. 

The Playing Conditions go on to say: "The umpires may also consult with the third umpire (where available) and the Match Referee, who may review any audio or video evidence to confirm whether an offence has been committed”. After all of that “the umpires shall together summon and inform the offending player’s captain that a [Level 4] offence has occurred [and] instruct the captain to remove the offending player immediately from the field of play for the remainder of the match”.  "If the offence is committed by a batter, the umpires shall summon the offending player’s captain [on] to the field” to inform them.  

Should a captain refuse to remove a player from the field "the umpires shall invoke clause 16.3 of the Playing Conditions which covers 'Umpires awarding a match’”.  "If both captains refuse to carry out instructions in respect of the same incident, the umpires shall instruct the players to leave the field”.  In that circumstance “the match is not concluded and there shall be no result under clause 16” of the Playing Conditions, a section that covers ’The Result”.

As soon as practicable after that officials have sorted out the situation, the umpire at the bowler’s end is required to, before calling ‘Play’ to resume the match: award 5 Penalty runs to the opposing team and signal them to the scorers; then also signal the Level 4 penalty to the scorers in the new approved manner.

The extent to which CA’s approach to the new Law 42 has been taken up by the Australia’s six first class feeder Premier Leagues, let alone the multitude of lower associations across the country, is not yet clear.  At least one state association, Tasmania, has to date not included the send off provisions in the printed version of its Premier League Playing Conditions, their view apparently being that their existing disciplinary arrangements adequately cover serious behavioural issues.  The practical and training issues of introducing such measures at that level also seem to have been a consideration. 

‘We didn’t get the pitches we asked for’, says Lankan bowler.

Colombo ‘Sunday Times’.

Sunday, 17 September 2017.

PTG 2252-11400.

Sri Lankan player Lasith Malinga has criticised Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) for preparing wickets against the wishes of the national team during the team’s recent home Test and one day series against India.  Malinga highlighted that and several other issues he thinks contributed to the current worrying state of the game in Sri Lanka during a meeting to review that series that was convened by Sports Minister Dayasiri Jayasekera.

“When we asked for a grass track, they trim the grass and give us a grass less track”, he said. “When we asked why the grass was cut, they say they used the wrong blade. This has happened not once but twice. I notified the authorities but nothing happened. I am not saying we lost matches because of that but, when things don’t happen the way we want, the players lose confidence”. 

Malinga’s comments appeared to put rumours to rest that Sri Lanka exploited its home advantage by preparing pitches suitable to the strengths and weaknesses of the home team in the recent series against Bangladesh, Zimbabwe and India. 

Malinga also asked SLC to invest on quality coaches. “We have a lot of coaches but we need to ask whether we have the right coaches”, he said. He was critical of the appointment of the Simon Willis, a cricketer with just 16 first class matches under his belt, as SLC's High Performance Manager.  “Are we resting the future of our cricket on a man who has no proper first class experience?” he asked.  “We should have appointed someone with necessary qualifications and knowledge. We have given the responsibility to a man who has played just 16 matches and scored less than 100 runs in his career. This is a big mistake”. 

The one-day brainstorming session was attended by the members of the national team, former cricketers, board employees and a host of other invitees including former cricket administrators and Sports Ministry officials.  It focused on addressing key issues like revamping the domestic cricket structure, a consistent selection policy and making SLC more transparent and accountable. However, the meeting was snubbed by several former players and administrators who have been lobbying hard for a change of guard in the wake of recent defeats. 

“I have invited almost everyone to come and share their opinions so that we could prepare a blueprint to Sri Lanka Cricket for implementation,” Sports Minister Dayasiri Jayasekera said. “Unfortunately, they are not here. Isn’t this the best forum for them to come forward and help the game?”

CA adds two umpires to its national pathway.

PTG Editor.

Monday, 18 September 2017.

PTG 2252-11401.

Cricket Australia (CA) has added two new officials to the upper part of its umpire development pathway, naming Sydney first grade umpires Roberto Howard and Ryan Nelson, to stand in this year’s 40-match national male Under-17 series which is to be played in south-east Queensland over 11 days starting next week. The seven others selected for the event, all of whom have previously clearly been on CA’s radar, are Murray Branch and Stephen Dionysius from Queensland, Dinusha Bandara of the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), Victoria's Dale Ireland, Ashlee Kovalevs of Western Australia, Muhammad Qureshi from Tasmania and Luke Uthenwoldt of South Australia.  

CA National Umpire Panel (NUP) member John Ward, who over the last 14 years has stood in 71 first class, 77 List A, 7 of which are One Day internationals, and 84 Twenty20s, 8 of them internationals, will also stand in the U-17 series, his role apparently being to act as mentor to the nine up-and-coming umpires.

Howard and Nelson both stood in the School Sports Australia 15 Years and under male national championship series last austral summer, the pair being selected for the final of that event ahead of eight other umpires from the other five states.   Howard had made his Sydney first grade debut earlier that season while Nelson did so in CA’s Womens’ National Cricket League 50 over format series last November, prior to that standing in CA’s womens’ U-15 series of 2013 and 2014.

Bandara, Dionysius, and Qureshi were part of the panel for last year’s U-17 event, Qureshi previously taking part in 2014 as did Ireland in 2013 after which he was selected for CA’s more senior U-19 series in both 2015 and 2016. For Branch its his first U-17 series, however, like Ireland he has stood in U-19 men’s tournaments, his coming in 2013, 2015 and 2016, a total of 17 games, Uthenwoldt having a similar profile as he did so in 19 matches across the 2006, 2010 and 2015 U-19 series.  

Kovalevs, who stood in a mens’ Premier League match for then first time late last year (PTG 2001-10114, 10 December 2016), will also be working in a male U-17 series for the first time, however, she stood in CA’s U-18 womens’ national championship tournaments in 2014, 2015 and 2016, as well as a New Zealand Cricket U-21 womens’ series in 2015 (PTG 1709-8469, 12 December 2015).  Of the nine, Uthenwoldt has also stood in 14 state second XI games, Ireland four, Qureshi three, Branch two and Bandara and Dionysius one each.

Umpires missing from U-17 tournament appointments last year ago are Marc Nickl, Troy Penman and Glen Stubbings (all NSW), Stephen Farrell (Queensland), Cain Kemp (South Australia), Todd Rann (WA), and Deanne Young (ACT).  Penman and Stubbings stood in the main final of last year’s U-17 series, Dionysius and Kemp the third-fourth place game, Farrell and Rann that for fifth-sixth spots, Bandara and Qureshi the seventh-eighth decider, and Nickl and Young (ACT) the match for nine-tenth places (PTG 1940-9759, 7 October 2017).

It is understood that in an unusual move CA has chosen all six members of its second-tier Development Panel (DP) for the coming season’s men’s U-19 series, a key milestone on its umpiring pathway.  Just who will join DP members Darren Close, Nathan Johnstone, Donovan Koch, Claire Polosak, David Shepard and Ben Treloar at the U-19 tournament in Hobart and Launceston in early December, an event that will include day-night games for the first time (PTG 2247-11379, 13 September 2017), has not yet surfaced.  

A total of ten umpires are likely to be needed, therefore if so four spots need to be filled.  Interestingly, Stephen Brne (Victoria) and New South Welshmen Penman and Anthony Hobson plus Queensland's David Taylor, the latter who stood with Close in last year’s U-19 final (PTG 2006-10142, 16 December 2016), were the only four non-NUP or DP members chosen to attend CA’s inaugural High Performance Officiating Workshop last month (PTG 2229-11294, 14 August 2017).  Outside that there is also James Hewitt of WA.  Hobson and Taylor, like DP members Johnstone, Koch, Polosak, Shepard and Treloar, as well as Kovalevs, have all been awarded year-long National Officiating Scholarships by the Australian government’s Sports Commission in recent years (PTG 2030-10277, 25 January 2017).

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 2,253

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

 

• Oxenford to stand in his 100th first class match [PTG 2253-11402]. 

• Former Australian first class umpire dies [PTG 2253-11403]. 

• SLC bracing for legal challenge to multiple bans [PTG 2253-11404]. 

• New headquarters for Lankan umpires [PTG 2253-11405]. 

• Ashes video game another earner for CA, ECB [PTG 2253-11406]. 

Oxenford to stand in his 100th first class match. 

PTG Editor.

Wednesday, 20 September 2017.

PTG 2253-11402.

Australian umpire Bruce Oxenford will be standing in his 100th first class match when the opening Test between South Africa and Bangladesh gets underway in Potchefstroom next week.  Oxenford has been named with Sri Lankans Rajan Madugalle and Kumar Dharmasena and Chris Gaffaney of New Zealand as the neutral officials for that series, while the parallel Tests between Pakistan and Sri Lanka in the United Arab Emirates will be managed by Andy Pycroft of Zimbabwe plus Englishmen Ian Gould, Richard Kettleborough and Nigel Llong.

Madugalle will oversee the series in Potchefstroom and Bloemfontein, his 178th and 179th Tests as a match referee, Oxenford being on-field in both games to take his Test record to 45 matches.  Gaffaney will be on-ground with him in the first match and Dharmasena in the second, the latter pair working as the television umpire when not on the field.  Gaffaney will end the series having stood in 16 Tests and been the television umpire in 14 (16/14) and Dharmasena 47/13.

Gould will stand in both Pakistan-Sri Lanka Tests, the first in Abu Dhabi and the second, which will be played in a day-night format, in Dubai.  Kettleborough will be on-field with Gould in Abu Dhabi and be the television umpire in Dubai, Llong covering the latter spot in Abu Dhabi and then on-field with Gould in the day-nighter, Pycroft looking after both games as the match referee, his 55th and 56th Tests in that role.  Gould will finish the series having stood in 64 Tests, Llong on 46/23 and Kettleborough on 45/17.  Gould, Kettleborough, Llong and Pycroft all go into the series with one day-night Test under their belts.

Oxenford, 57, will reach the 100 first class match mark 16 years after making his debut at that level in November 2001 in a Sheffield Shield match.  That game came just on eight years after he played the last of his eight first class games for Queensland as a lower-order batsman and spinner.  Named Cricket Australia’s ‘Umpire of the Year’ three times, he stood in the Sheffield Shield finals of 2009 and 2010 and made his Test debut in Sri Lanka in November 2010 (PTG 698-3418, 16 November 2010).  Two years after that, having stood in eight Tests, he became the sixth Australian to be appointed to the International Cricket Council's Elite Umpires Panel (PTG 995-4835, 27 September 2012).

Queensland-born Oxenford, 57, will be the seventh Australia to reach the 100 mark at first class level after Daryl Harper (1987-2011) with 165, 95 of them Tests (165/95). Darrell Hair (1989-2008) 146/78, Steve Davis (1990-2015) 140/57, Steve Randell (1980-98) 119/36, Peter Parker (1986-2008) 113/10 and Simon Taufel (1995-2012) 105/74.

Former Australian first class umpire dies. 

PTG Editor.

Tuesday, 19 September 2017.

PTG 2253-11403.

Allan Jones, who stood in eight first class games, a List A fixture and an Under-19 Test match in the period from 1979-85, passed away in Hobart on Saturday. Jones served as president of the Tasmanian Cricket Umpires and Scorers Association (TCUSA) for five years in the late 1970s and early 1980s, and was on-field in a total of six Premier League Grand Finals.  During several decades with the TCUSA he was prominent in the training and development of umpires and scorers.  Jones’ family say that his years umpiring “were a large part of his life”.

SLC bracing for legal challenge to multiple bans. 

PTG Editor.

Tuesday, 19 September 2017.

PTG 2253-11404.

Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) is said to concede that their decision to suspend nearly 30 people because of how a first class match was played last January could be the subject of a legal challenge (PTG 2034-10301, 30 January 2017).  At least one of the players involved is reported to have retained a lawyer with a view to appealing his personal year-long ban for "misconduct and not playing to the Spirit of the game” (PTG 2251-11396, 17 September 2017).

Asela Rekawa, who was head of the independent panel that looked into the matter, told ‘Cricinfo’ that it had not been possible to determine who made the decision to "manipulate the result of the match”.  "We can't pinpoint it was this person or that person who made the decision”, said Rekawa. "We didn't get any evidence to support that. That's why we had to punish more generally - even the captain, coach and scorers we had to punish” (PTG 2252-11398, 18 September 2017).  SLC has stressed the two teams were "found guilty of misconduct and not playing to the Spirit of the game, and NOT [its emphasis] of match fixing”.

The final decision to “come down hard on the players” was because of "the lack of evidence that any party other than the players were complicit”.  The national body said the investigating committee provided players multiple opportunities to defend themselves but "few players" utilised that opportunity.  In fact "many of them remained completely absent from the inquiry's many hearings".

Players of each team were represented by lawyers at hearings, which is why the committee requested those involved in the game make written submissions if they had "anything relevant to add". That process was cited as one of the reasons why the inquiry took seven months to conclude, instead of the few weeks it was originally expected to take.  According to SLC, questions remain as to why many players spurned the opportunity to personally defend themselves at the inquiry.

New headquarters for Lankan umpires.

PTG Editor.

Tuesday, 19 September 2017.

PTG 2253-11405.

The Association of Cricket Umpires Sri Lanka (ACUSL), which will be celebrating its 74th Anniversary this year, will be moving to a new headquarters at the Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu Cricket Stadium in Colombo on Friday.  The move to the facility at the Test match ground is reported to have been supported by Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) and the country’s Ministry of Sports.  

SLC president Thilanga Sumathipala, who is also the Deputy Speaker of the Sri Lankan parliament where he represents the Colombo District, is expected ted to formally open the new facility.  The ACUSL is headed by another politician, Buddhika Pathirana, who is in parliament as a United National Party representative for the Matara District in the nation's south.

Ashes video game another earner for CA, ECB. 

PTG Editor.

Monday, 18 September 2017.

PTG 2253-11406.

Australian video game company 'Big Ant Studios' is to release another of its games in November, this one covering both the forthcoming mens’ and womens’ Ashes series.  Big Ant has worked in conjunction with Cricket Australia (CA) and the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) to create what CA said in a media release is "the most authentic cricket experience ever seen in a video game" as it offers "photo-real depictions" of the men and women who are expected to feature in the forthcoming Tests and one-dayers.

CA says the new product is the first cricket game from Big Ant Studios "to be fully licensed”, which presumably means both CA and the ECB earn revenue from the deal.  However, neither cricket body goes so far as to indicate to the general public just how much the manufacturer will pay them for their willingness to be involved, although such lack of detail is not unusual. 

James Sutherland, CA’s chief executive, said via the media release that his organisation’s "new strategy recognises the growing role that gaming can play in reaching younger fans, and by working with the likes of Big Ant to develop products that meet this need we are positioning ourselves as leaders in the cricket gaming space globally”.  Presumably that does not mean CA will include e-player numbers in its 2017-18 National Cricket Survey next year (PTG 2228-11287, 13 August 2017).

ECB Commercial Director Sanjay Patel said: “We want cricket to be relevant and accessible to the e-sports generation, helping us develop an even bigger nationwide following for the game at every level”.  "Ashes Cricket has been designed to be as life-like and authentic as possible. It’s the ideal way for fans to recreate all the excitement and tension of a real-life Ashes contest in their own living rooms”.

Players have had their likenesses captured using 35 Digital Single Lens Reflex cameras to "create lifelike characters for the game”.  During the scanning they were required to move around playing a wide variety of shots depending on the height of the ball, and whether the shot was aggressive, normal or defensive.  Motion capture data from CA's National Cricket Centre in Brisbane was used to recreate bowling actions for Australian players. All that data is then stitched together by an algorithm to create a player’s in-game likeness.  Images of stadiums, logos and match formats have also been included.  

“Time and time again players tell us the feature they love most about our cricket games is the deep customisation options”, gushed Big Ant chief executive Ross Symons.  “We have produced a true Ashes cricket game, through and through, but we’ve also made sure that our heritage in sports games remains true”.

There is no indication the match referees, umpires or scorers who will be involved in this year’s Ashes series have been scanned for inclusion in the game.  Umpires that do feature in clips of the game released to date appearing somewhat androgynous.

 

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 2,254

Thursday, 21 September 2017

 

• CSA eyeing Boxing Day four-day, day-night Test [PTG 2254-11407]. 

• Second player banned for five years over PSL spot-fixing [PTG 2254-11408]. 

• BCB  blames rain for below-par Mirpur outfield [PTG 2254-11409]. 

• BCCI approach on new Law 42 awaited [PTG 2254-11410]. 

• Cricket needs a transfer system like football: Duham chair [PTG 2254-11411]. 

• Part-time spinner’s action cleared after Loughborough tests [PTG 2254-11412]. 

• Bowler adds new dimension to ‘frog in a blender’ action [PTG 2254-11413]. 

CSA eyeing Boxing Day four-day, day-night Test.

SuperSport.

Wednesday, 20 September 2017.

PTG 2254-11407.

South Africa and Zimbabwe could contest a day-night Test beginning on Boxing Day if the International Cricket Council (ICC) approves Cricket South Africa's (CSA) request for what is planned as a four-day fixture to carry Test status. CSA announced on Wednesday that they intend to host their neighbours for what will be the first official long-form day-night fixture on the continent, it having conducted a pre-season first class format match under lights in the lead up to the 2012-13 austral summer (PTG 989-4802, 6 September 2012). 

CSA also revealed that they will host India for just three Tests in January, with time constraints forcing them to drop a Test from the original plan and increase the number of One Day Internationals (ODI) to six.  CSA said that the specific dates and venues of India's tour would be confirmed shortly. The Board of Control in India wants its players to have a rest period before touring South Africa and not arrive in South Africa until Boxing day, hence the move to fill the resulting gap.

With India unable to contest a Boxing Day Test as CSA had initially hoped, the organisation needed to arrange an alternative in order to meet its broadcast and sponsorship deals. Zimbabwe represented the most natural opponent for a one-off Test, and CSA has decided to use the fixture as an opportunity to experiment not just with day-night cricket but also with a shorter game.  

Four-day Tests have been discussed at the ICC in recent years with the CSA chief executive Haroon Lorgat known to be among those in favor of the idea.  However, just how many of the game's chief decision-makers agree that four-day Tests represent the future will be put to the test - most likely at the ICC's next meeting in October (PTG 2146-10891, 26 May 2017). Should the ICC approve CSA's request for the fixture to be granted Test status then the four-day Test cricket could take off.

"To ensure we do not disappoint our loyal fans over the traditional Boxing Day period and to take advantage of our brand-new lights at St George's Park [in Port Elizabeth] we will host Zimbabwe in the first ever 4-day day-night Test match to be played”, said Lorgat in a statement.  "This will give us a total of 10 home Test matches this summer against Bangladesh, Zimbabwe, India and Australia, making this our busiest home Test season ever. The extensive revamping of our international grounds are on schedule (PTG 2162-10972, 13 June 2017), and the day-night Test match promises to be a world-class experience for the players and fans”.

Lorgat and CSA are likely to come under fire from traditionalists - not just for the attempt to stage a four-day Test, but also for favouring meaningless ODIs over a Test match. Just three weeks ago Lorgat insisted that there would be four Tests in the India program, but time and finance appear to have forced a change.

Second player banned for five years over PSL spot-fixing.

Umar Farooq.

Cricinfo.

Wednesday, 20 September 2017.

PTG 2254-11408.

Pakistan batsman Khalid Latif has been banned by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) from all forms of cricket for five years for his role in the spot-fixing scandal that marred the 2017 Pakistan Super League (PSL) (PTG 2143-10872, 23 May 2017). Latif, playing for Islamabad United, was charged with six major breaches of the PCB's anti-corruption code and was found guilty of all six on Wednesday. He was also fined 1 million Pakistan Rupees ($A11,785, £UK7,005).

Latif's lawyer Badar Alam, who has raised several objections throughout the proceedings of his client, did not show up to hear the verdict being announced. Alam had refused to turn up for several hearings during proceedings as well, and had registered a case against the formation of the tribunal set up to adjudicate on Latif's case. Both parties have a right to appeal the judgment within 14 days of receiving the detailed decision, which has not been released yet. While PCB's lawyer Taffazul Rizvi said the PCB would wait and see whether to lodge an appeal, the discontent of Alam suggests an appeal on his client's part would be likely - where that appeal is lodged and whether it is outside the PCB's remit is also not yet known.

Unlike Sharjeel Khan, who was banned for five years last month for spot-fixing charges emanating from the same match at the PSL, none of Latif's sentence is suspended, meaning the 31-year old cannot return to cricket until at least 2022. It is the harshest punishment meted out so far to a player involved in the PSL spot-fixing saga. Mohammad Irfan and Mohammad Nawaz were also banned, for the relatively lesser indiscretions of failure to report corrupt approaches (PTG 2138-10835, 18 May 2017). Both have since returned to domestic cricket.

PCB's lawyer Taffazul Rizvi said after the verdict, "There are cases you don't feel happy winning, because it's unfortunate to see a player being banned. But he is responsible for tarnishing his own career, and all fixing allegations against him have been proved”. Like Sharjeel, Latif has been handed the minimum sentence mandatory for the offences he was convicted of, and could have potentially faced a life ban.

A veteran on the domestic circuit - he made his debut 17 years ago when he was just 14 - Latif has never quite been able to make the grade at international level. He was a rising star at Under-19 level, captaining the Pakistan side to a World Cup win in 2004. He was called up to the One Day International side in 2008, but played just five games over two years. He hasn't been able to find much more consistency in Twenty20 Internationals, playing thirteen over an eight-year period, the last against the West Indies in a home series in 2016. 

The ban, should it not be reduced or overturned in the event of an appeal, would almost certainly spell the end of Latif's international days, and given his age - Latif will be 36 when the ban ends - make even returning to the domestic circuit a daunting challenge.

BCB  blames rain for below-par Mirpur outfield.

Dhaka Tribune.

Thursday, 21 September 2017.

PTG 2254-11409.

Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) chief executive Nizamuddin Chowdhury has cited rain and the overcast condition in Dhaka over the past few months for below-par preparation of the Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium outfield in Mirpur for the first Test match against Australia last month.  Match referee Jeff Crowe rated the recently re-laid outfield at the ground as “poor” (PTG 2249-11389, 15 September 2017).

Chowdhury said on Wednesday: “There is no question regarding efforts made to prepare the ground. We all know that Bangladesh has been suffering from severe flood and rain for which preparing the field in Mirpur had become a challenge for us. But still we tried to do the best we could. We believe our ground's committee made all efforts but the weather made the work tough”.

“There has been no complaint regarding the Mirpur outfield since the venue was given international status in 2005 by the International Cricket Council (ICC). This venue has hosted many international events including the 2014 World Twenty20 Championship series. It has also hosted three Asia Cup tournaments. There was no lack in preparation of the ground but the overcast weather had harmed the work. [The International Cricket Council (ICC)] have complained just because of the grass on the field”.

Chowdhury indicated that a reply about the matter has already been sent to the ICC.  “This is a regular protocol maintained by the ICC. The match referee submits a report to the ICC after every match. The host board is asked for an explanation if the match referee terms the outfield or the pitch poor. We have received the ICC report and have already replied them back on the issue”, said Chowdhury..

BCCI approach on new Law 42 awaited.

Press Trust of India.

Wednesday, 20 September 2017.

PTG 2254-11410.

A meeting of Indian domestic umpires and match referees held recently in Bangalore was divided as to whether the all or part of the ‘send off’ provisions contained in Law 42 of the new Code should be introduced into cricket played on the sub-continent under the auspices of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI),  The BCCI is yet, however, to communicate its up-dated playing conditions to the umpires, match referees and teams.  “The handbook will reach the state associations before the start of the season”, said a BCCI official.  The Ranji Trophy first class series is scheduled to get underway on 6 October.

Cricket needs a transfer system like football: Duham chair.

Nick Hoult.

London Daily Telegraph.

Wednesday, 20 September 2017.

PTG 2254-11411.

Former England captain Ian Botham has called for a football-style transfer system and an end to county Directors of Cricket (DOC) also serving as England selectors after Durham lost one of their most promising players to Nottinghamshire on Tuesday.  Paul Coughlin, Durham’s Twenty20 captain and all-rounder, joined Nottinghamshire on a three-year deal prompting Botham, the Durham chairman, to issue a strongly worded statement condemning cricket’s current rules around player movement.

Durham had offered Coughlin an extension to his current deal but he has decided to move to Nottinghamshire in the hope of furthering his England ambitions by playing division one cricket next year. Nottinghamshire are on the verge of promotion back to division one and are this season’s 50-over and Twenty20 champions. Coughlin, 24, was born in Sunderland and graduated through Durham’s academy set up.

Mick Newell is Nottinghamshire’s DOC and also an England selector. Angus Fraser also doubles as a DOC at Middlesex with being an England selector and this has led to criticism over potential conflicts of interest when their counties poach players from other teams with the suspicion being that if a player moves to a county run by an England selector it will help their international chances.

Following their relegation and points deduction last year (PTG 2061-10438, 28 February 2017), Durham are facing a talent drain with Keaton Jennings also linked with a move to Notts.  “It concerns me that the current arrangements within cricket do not reward counties that invest in Academies and produce exciting young English players”, said Botham.  “Durham will be making strong representations [to the England and Wales Cricket Board) to properly reward those that invest in the development of local talent. They need to introduce a transfer or similar system of compensation, to remove the potential for conflict of interest by preventing serving [DOCs] acting as selectors and to better regulate the behaviour of agents”.

Part-time spinner’s action cleared after Loughborough tests. 

PTG Editor.

Wednesday, 20 September 2017.

PTG 2254-11412.

The International Cricket Council has cleared the bowling action of West Indies opener Kraigg Brathwaite following an independent assessment at the Loughborough testing centre in England three weeks ago.  Part-time off-spinner Brathwaite was reported for a suspect action at the end of West Indies' first Test against England at Edgbaston last month (PTG 2234-11315, 21 August 2017).  The ICC says that the Loughborough tests showed the elbow extension in all his was well inside the 15-degree permissible limit set down in the world body's regulations.

Bowler adds new dimension to ‘frog in a blender’ action. 

PTG Editor.

Wednesday, 20 September 2017.

PTG 2254-11413.

A little-known club cricketer from the northern Indian state of Rajasthan now probably has the dubious honour of owning cricket's worst bowling action, claim media reports.  The 20-year-old spinner has appeared on social media, a series of videos documenting his bizarre run up and series of arm movements prior to delivery - that puts the "frog in a blender" action of former South African bowler Paul Adams to shame.  

The unnamed bowler’s action, which he is believed to have used since childhood, potentially leaves batsmen confused as to whether he is going to bowl left or right handed, however, close inspection of the video shows he starts off with the ball in his left hand and eventually, after a lot of flurry, delivers it around the wicket with that hand.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 2,255

Friday, 25 September 2017

 

• Batsman ‘caught’ and ‘run out’ but ’not out' [PTG 2255-11414]. 

• Sri Lankan club denies wrongdoing, demands bans be rescinded [PTG 2255-11415]. 

• Boy dies after being struck by wayward bat [PTG 2255-11416]. 

• Day-night county opener moves from Abu Dhabi to Barbados [PTG 2255-11417]. 

• Supreme Court gives BCCI office bearers stern warning [PTG 2255-11418]. 

• Transfer ‘conflict of interest’ claim rejected, but counties seek solution [PTG 2255-11419]. 

• Presidential cricket comes before UN General Assembly [PTG 2255-11420]. 

Batsman ‘caught’ and ‘run out’ but ’not out'.

Martin Smith.

CA web site.

Thursday, 21 September 2017.

PTG 2255-11414.

India's Hardik Pandya was given not out despite being both ‘caught' and 'run out' from the same delivery from bowler Kane Richardson during the second One Day International against Australia in Kolkata on Thursday.  

Midway through the 48th over of India's innings, Pandya skied a full toss straight up in the air and Australian captain Steve Smith took a comfortable catch running back from cover.  Having run down to the bowler's end as he watched Smith take the catch, Pandya then turned and walked out of his ground and towards the pavilion in the belief that he had been caught.

Perhaps sensing that Pandya might earn a reprieve due to the ball being ruled a waist-high no-ball, Smith threw the ball to the bowler who removed the bails and ran Pandya out.  But replays examined by television umpire Marais Erasmus showed the delivery had reached Pandya above the waist on the full, and it was correctly called a no-ball, thus making the caught dismissal void as well as the run-out attempt.

Under Law 27.7, which covers Appeals, which is titled 'Batsman leaving his wicket under a misapprehension’.  It states: "An umpire shall intervene if satisfied that a batsman, not having been given out, has left his wicket under a misapprehension that he is out. The umpire intervening shall call and signal Dead ball to prevent any further action by the fielding side and shall recall the batsman”.

After several minutes of confusion and discussion between umpires Anil Chaudhary and Richard Illingworth and the Australian players, Pandya was reinstated to re-commence his innings. One run was added to the total for the no-ball and the next ball was signalled to be a free hit.  The whole incident got more confused for rain had started to fall just as Richardson had run in to bowl the delivery. So as Smith took the catch and threw the ball in to complete the run out, the players and umpires also ran from the ground as the covers were brought on to the arena.

Before the resumption of play ten minutes later, Smith and vice-captain David Warner were seen in discussion with Chaudhary and Illingworth on the boundary line, seemingly to clarify the situation.  

Sri Lankan club denies wrongdoing, demands bans be rescinded.

Andrew Fidel Fernando.

Cricinfo.

Thursday, 21 September 2017.

PTG 2255-11415.

Administrators of Panadura Sports Club (PSC) have demanded that Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) rescind the bans handed out to its players, while several players themselves have formally asked the board to reconsider its ruling.  Last week SLC announced that 22 first-class players plus coaches, managers and even scorers would be banned from "cricket-related activities" for one year, and the two captains for two years, for their supposed role in manipulating the result of a Tier ‘B' first-class match in January (PTG 2251-11396, 17 September 2017).

It is understood that at least six of players have retained the services of a lawyer, and that those players have lodged a formal complaint with the board (PTG 2253-11404, 20 September 2017).  Those players contend, effectively, that they had not had adequate opportunity to defend themselves at the inquiry that found them guilty of misconduct - a claim the board has already vehemently denied. The players have also raised the possibility of a having their club ask for a fresh inquiry.

PSC says the match in question - in which 605 runs were scored off 60 overs on the final day - did not feature unfair play (PTG 2034-10301, 30 January 2017). They pointed to alleged irregularities in the match referee's report to support their claim.  "What we are saying is that nothing untoward happened in this game”, said PSC president Jayantha Silva. "Our cricketers didn't do anything untoward, and as a club we didn't do anything untoward”.  "If something did happen, the people who have to bear that responsibility are the umpires. The charge sheet was founded on unlawful documents provided by the umpires. There is some unseen conspiracy being carried out against us here. We suspect the umpires and the match referee for that”.

The club also asked that the points that were stripped from them on the basis of SLC's ruling be reinstated, meaning they would secure promotion to Tier ‘A' of the Premier League Tournament for next season which is due two get underway in November.  It is for promotion-relegation purposes, in fact, that the result of match is suspected to have been manipulated. At no stage is money thought to have changed hands.

Boy dies after being struck by wayward bat.

PTG Editor.

Friday, 22 September 2017.

PTG 2255-11416.

A twelve-year-old school boy has died after being hit in the head by a bat that slipped out of his teacher’s hand in Tamil Nadu, India, on Wednesday.  P. Visweswaran, a student at a school in Vittampalayam village, was in the playground with his friends when the blade of the bat, which is believed to have broken leaving the handle in the teacher's hand, struck him in the back of his head. 

The boy was was rushed to hospital and admitted to the intensive care unit but eventually succumbed to his injuries.  His relatives, including his parents, refused to receive the body and staged a sit in in front of the hospital demanding the arrest of the teacher, his dismissal from service and also the filing of a case against him with the police. They also demanded adequate compensation for the family.  Police later arrested the teacher and charged him with "culpable homicide not amounting to murder”.

Day-night county opener moves from Abu Dhabi to Barbados.

PTG Editor.

Friday, 22 September 2017.

PTG 2255-11417.

The traditional Champion County match next March between an XI from the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) and Essex, this year’s county champion, is to be again be played as a day-night match, but this time instead of Abu Dhabi during much of this decade, the venue will be Kensington Oval in Barbados.  The MCC says the four-day fixture will be played with pink ‘Duke' balls.

The match is the annual curtain raiser for the English county season and it will be played just after the North-South one-day series which is also being transferred from the Middle East.  The first and second of the latter three games will be played at Kensington Oval and the third at the Three Ws Oval.   The fixtures have been welcomed by former Barbados and West Indian captain Sir Garfield Sobers.  He said: 'We have been home to numerous prestigious cricket events and this will once again be the case as we welcome the players to our lovely shores. We look forward to hosting them, and trust that it will be an intense and high-quality showing of the game”.

John Stephenson, the MCC's Head of Cricket, said: "MCC is delighted to be hosting the Champion County match in Barbados next year, and continuing the Club’s collaboration with the England and Wales Cricket Board.  It has been a long-stated aim of the MCC World Cricket committee to help to reinvigorate Test cricket in areas of the world where attendances are dwindling, and MCC believe that playing a four-day pink-ball first-class match in Barbados can help to do that.  The Club also hopes it will provide a platform for the iconic Kensington Oval to go on to potentially host a day-night Test Match in the near future". 

Supreme Court gives BCCI office bearers stern warning.

Sidharth Monga.

Cricinfo.

Thursday, 21 September 2017.

PTG 2255-11418.

India's Supreme Court on Thursday gave the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) three weeks to come back with "suggestions" related to the draft constitution proposed by the Court-appointed Committee of Administrators (CoA) to meet the Lodha committee’s reforms (PTG 2236-11320, 24 August 2017). The Court threatened to initiate contempt proceedings against the three interim BCCI office bearers - president CK Khanna, secretary Amitabh Chaudhary and treasurer Anirudh Chaudhry - but eventually warned them of the "serious consequences” that will come into play if they fail to give their "absolute co-operation" in implementing the Lodha-related changes.

The matter will next be heard on 30 October where the three office bearers will have to individually list their suggestions, which could rid them of any loyalty issues they might have previously had as long-term members of the board.  During Thursday's hearing CoA lawyer Parag Tripathi told the court that a "concerted attempt has been adopted by the office bearers not to follow the judgement of this Court”. The court heard that the office bearers had shown "obstinate attitude and unnecessary intervention" despite "our order”. 

Khanna and treasurer Chaudhry came in for special rebuke by the CoA's representative. The court heard that there hasn't been "a whisper from Khanna or Anirudh Chaudhry" to convince the board to pass a resolution. 

Transfer ‘conflict of interest’ claim rejected, but counties seek solution.

PTG Editor.

Friday, 22 September 2017.

PTG 2255-11419.

England Director of Cricket (COD) Andrew Strauss has hit back at Durham chairman Ian Botham’s claims England have created a conflict of interest by having selectors who also serve as county DOCs.  Botham has criticised the system of cricket transfers after losing one of the county’s best prospects to Nottinghamshire and called for a "football-style transfer system or similar system of compensation” in order to remove the potential for conflict of interest by preventing serving [DOCs] acting as selectors and to better regulate the behaviour of agents” (PTG 2254-11411, 21 September 2017).

Strauss said: "[Botham] is 100 per cent wrong if he’s implying that [the Durham player] has gone to Nottinghamshire on the back of one of our selectors saying he’s got a better chance of playing for England coming to my county”.  “I believe that if players are going to move from one county to another they are thinking about the quality of the club, what the club can offer them and how playing for that team might further their chances of playing cricket for England”. He  doesn't "think the fact that an England selector might be a [county DOC] influences their decision”.

However, ‘London Daily Telegraph’ journalist Scyld Berry wrote that Botham’s comments "strikes a chord in cricket followers who have a vested interest in fairness”.  He went on to say though that "the sympathy we may feel for Durham [over its treatment by the English and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) last year because of its financial irregularities] should not cloud the overall issue of transfers from one county to another” (PTG 1938-9747, 5 October 2016). "Durham will recover, in time”, says Berry, "so the solution should not be hastily manufactured now in order to protect them specifically".

Berry doesn’t think there is "any chance" of a level playing field in county cricket for “the bigger [counties] will always be preying upon the smaller ones". "The nearest we can get to a solution is to reward a county even more for producing a top-class England cricketer - and the ECB are going to look at increasing the financial incentives - and also impose a time for transfer activity. Then we would not have the unseemly scramble for players in mid-season which has provoked considerable resentment".

Journalist Nick Hoult, who also writes for the ’Telegraph’, says that “leading figures at County Championship sides" have backed Botham's call. He quotes Middlesex chief executive Richard Goatley as saying: “Counties need to be protected from losing their young players.  A level of financial compensation is appropriate, but not a transfer battle with fees and windows and agents getting involved”.

Hoult says that call was echoed by Surrey who did not receive any compensation when their promising 21-year-old batsman Dominic Sibley moved to Warwickshire earlier this year. That has led Surrey to write to the other 17 first-class counties proposing the following formula: “Any home developed player below the age of 24 who chooses to move to a new county, despite being offered a new and improved contract by his home county, would attract a compensation fee payable by the new county of [twice] the final salary offer by the home county”.  Surrey chief executive Richard Gould added: "We believe a [rival] county should pay compensation for a player who moves under the age of 24”.

Other ideas are also being considered. Gloucestershire’s chief executive Will Brown told Hoult that he would "be quite supportive of a football-style transfer window” where deals could be done, while Yorkshire’s chief Mark Arthur favours keeping and extending the system of loans. “I personally believe players should stay with their clubs [until the end of the season] but they should be allowed to go out on loan - and if that loan becomes a permanent move then so be it”, he said.

Hoult warns though that “the trouble is that by the time a formula is agreed among the counties, it is likely Durham will be denuded still further with the departure of several other players”.  He says “the punishment the ECB meted out on Durham, for their financial irregularities, has perhaps been even more brutal than they intended”.

Presidential cricket comes before UN General Assembly.

All Africa News.

Thursday, 21 September 2017.

PTG 2255-11420.

Ian Khama, the President of the African country of Botswana, chose to play cricket at home of Wednesday rather than join fellow government leaders from around the world in New York for the United Nations General Assembly.   Khama’s ‘twitter’ feed featured an image of him displaying his batting skills during a “wellness day” organised by Botswana officials.  

Khama, whose presidential term runs out in 2019, wanted to demonstrate that he is getting on with his duties at home, sending his vice president Mokgweetsi Masisi to the UN instead.  His Botswana Democratic Party has a tradition whereby the president steps down a year from the expiration of his manadate and hands over power to his vice-president.  That move is not due, however, until well into next year. 

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 2,256

Saturday, 23 September 2017

 

• Four-day, day-night Test plan likely to get ICC nod [PTG 2256-11421].

• Test and ODI league structures could hinge on India-Pakistan ties [PTG 2256-11422]. 

• PCB, player lodge five-year ban appeals, one for increase, one less [PTG 2256-11423]. 

• ODI ends prematurely as player welfare concerns run too high [PTG 2256-11424]. 

• Cricket Wellington staff in limbo as 'ambitious' restructure confirmed [PTG 2256-11425]. 

• Another busman’s holiday for ECB umpire [PTG 2256-11426]. 

• Six month bookie-related ban 'felt like six years’, says bowler [PTG 2256-11427]. 

• 'Heartbreak' as vandals trash Chester cricket club [PTG 2256-11427]. 

Four-day, day-night Test plan likely to get ICC nod.

Nagraj Gollapudi.

Cricinfo.

Friday, 22 September 2017.

PTG 2256-11421.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) is likely to grant Test status to the four-day, day-night match between South Africa and Zimbabwe on Boxing Day but strictly as a "trial” exercise (PTG 2254-11407, 21 September 2017). A final decision on Cricket South Africa's (CSA) request that the experimental day-night fixture in Port Elizabeth be considered a Test will be taken at the ICC board meeting in Auckland next month.

Four-day Tests are being seen by some as one of the solutions to make the longest format more viable and attractive in an age where Twenty20 has become the most popular version of the game. However, the ICC's Cricket Committee - the forum primarily entrusted with keeping the sport relevant - has not been in favour of reducing the length of Tests from five days to four .

In 2015, the committee, chaired by former India captain Anil Kumble, opposed the idea of four-day Tests (PTG 1557-7480, 29 May 2015). The ICC Chief Executives' Committee (CEC) and senior ICC management, however, had voiced support for four-day Tests.  In June this year, the Cricket Committee said that while its primary focus will remain on developing cricket structures it was not against experimenting with four-day Test cricket, but without any commitment (PTG 2146-10891, 26 May 2017). According to people involved in the discussions, the support for four-day Test cricket was growing, though there was "considerable reluctance from traditionalists".

The game's administrators are inclined towards four-day Tests because the concept helps ease their biggest problem: scheduling. With domestic Twenty20 leagues taking up a large part of the calendar, boards have been struggling to find enough time for full international tours. Earlier this week CSA and the Board of Control for Cricket in India, after months of deliberation, agreed to reduce the Test series from four to three matches and play an extra - sixth - One Day International on India's tour to South Africa in January.

Haroon Lorgat, CSA's chief executive officer, is a firm supporter of four-day Tests, especially as a way to induct Ireland and Afghanistan into the fold (PTG 2174-11023, 23 June 2017). "We recognise that there is a place for higher-ranked teams to play the lower-ranked teams, or even the lower-ranked teams among themselves, in four-day Test match cricket”, said Lorgat. "I hope that apart from being a trial, we could have it as a permanent arrangement”.

It is understood that administrators are trying to work towards a resolution that would allow ICC Full Members to decide between themselves whether a Test should be four or five days. Administrators like Lorgat and England and Wales Cricket Board chief executive Tom Harrison feel there is a need for the cricketing fraternity to adapt to the changing demands of the consumer (PTG 2079-10524, 20 March 2017).

The stance of the players, the biggest stakeholders in the game, is not yet clear. Last year, in an annual survey conducted by the Federation of International Cricketers' Associations, they gave the idea a thumbs down (PTG 1917-9622, 6 September 2017).  Lorgat, however, was confident. He said he had checked with the South African team management and they were "supportive" of the idea of a four-day Test against Zimbabwe in December.  South Africa played its first, and so far only day-night Test against Australia in Adelaide last year.

Test and ODI league structures could hinge on India-Pakistan ties.

Osman Samiuddin and Nagraj Gollapudi.

Cricinfo.

Friday, 22 September 2017.

PTG 2256-11422.

India-Pakistan, that old, festering wound, is potentially holding hostage cricket's attempts to devise a new international calendar, as the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has made it clear it will not sign up without clarity on bilateral matches with India.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) is optimistic that a new calendar, designed to bring context and meaning to international cricket, will be presented to its board for approval at a meeting in Auckland in October. That calendar will have the top nine sides play a two-year Test league with a play-off at the end, and a 13-team, two-year One Day International league (ODI) that is a qualifier for the World Cup (PTG 2172-11012, 22 June 2017).

At a scheduling workshop in Dubai last month, board chief executives from around the world gathered to finalise details of the new structure. Though the meeting was seen as the final step to a process in the works for over a year, the PCB posed a late hurdle.

The Pakistan board agrees with the new structure, and has even largely worked out its commitments within it. But the ICC was told clearly that if the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) did not agree to ink in bilateral commitments outside the league windows, the PCB will not sign off on it in Auckland. The calendar includes an eight-month window during which members are free to schedule bilateral ODI series of their choosing. Whether the PCB's threat can actually derail a revamp - and the impact it has on any vote - is not yet clear.

The PCB has reluctantly agreed to the BCCI's request to not schedule any Tests or ODIs against India within the league structure. That will avoid instances such as last November when the Indian women's team forfeited ICC Womens’ Championship points for not playing a three-match series with Pakistan. It dilutes the idea of a league in which each side is required to play six series (and not everyone) over two years, but it isn't clear what happens if India and Pakistan meet in the final play-off.

But in return, the PCB wants some commitment from India that they will play, or at least ink in a commitment, in that eight-month window. That, a PCB official said, was crucial: "If you are not going to list that series it means we are not playing India for the next eight to ten years and we are not in a position to take that risk, to go to the next broadcast rights and say there is no India. For us, it's a decision worth $US130 million” ($A163 m, (£UK95.7 m).

India and Pakistan have not played a full bilateral series since late 2007. The terror attacks in Mumbai the following year resulted in a sharp deterioration in diplomatic ties between the two countries; in that time, they have played one bilateral series, a short, limited-overs series in India. The PCB has sought repeatedly to restart ties, but the BCCI insists it cannot until the Indian government green-lights it.

Complicating matters is an escalation of the PCB's ongoing efforts to resolve the issue of already-cancelled series with India from the current calendar. In May this year the PCB sent a notice of dispute to the BCCI for not fulfilling obligations of an Memorandum of Understanding agreed upon in 2014 for six bilateral series between 2015 and 2023. The first of those - in December 2015 - never went ahead; another is scheduled for 2019.

As per the ICC's code for disputes the two sides have met a few times to attempt a breakthrough. But with little progress matters became heated at the last meeting in London in June, during the ICC's annual conference. Now the PCB is on the verge of sending an official notice of dispute to the ICC.  Last week, the ICC chief executive David Richardson said the ICC's role would be to facilitate and let the dispute process "take its course".

PCB, player lodge five-year ban appeals, one for increase, one less

Danyal Rasool.

Cricinfo.

Friday, 22 September 2017.

PTG 2256-11423.

Sharjeel Khan, who was banned by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) for five years last month spot-fixing in this year’s Pakistan Super League (PSL), has lodged an appeal against that censure. Khan's lawyer Shaigan Ijaz told journalists on Friday that the appeal had been filed and he was confident of having the decision overturned, saying: "We have contested all five charges [laid against Khan]. We believe the decision of the tribunal was based on speculation, and our cross examination of the PCB witnesses was not read properly. We believe our chances of overturning the decision are bright”.

Hours after that announcement PCB chairman Najam Sethi took to ‘Twitter’ to announce that the PCB would also appeal the decision, believing the sentence handed to Khan to be too lenient. "PCB has appealed the sentence imposed on Sharjeel by the tribunal and is seeking a stiffer sentence”, tweeted Sethi. An independent adjudicator who is to hear the appeal has to be nominated within a fortnight of any appeal being lodged.

Khan was found guilty by a three-man tribunal of all five charges brought against him by the PCB, and had the minimum punishment - a five-year ban, half of which was suspended - handed down to him. The charges relate to spot-fixing allegedly committed by the player during the opening game of the 2017 PSL series earlier this year, where he stands accused of pre-arranging with a bookie to play two dot balls. He potentially faces a life ban.

ODI ends prematurely as player welfare concerns run too high.

Scyld Berry.

London Daily Telegraph.

Friday, 22 September 2017.

PTG 2256-11424.

England’s second One Day International (ODI) against West Indies was called off prematurely at 4.15 p.m. on Thursday. The match had to be resumed by 5.56 p.m., in order that each side would be able to bat for the stipulated minimum of 20 overs, and by that time a watery sun had succeeded the rain, the thin cloud was high, and the surface water had drained from the field.

After the West Indian players had slipped around Chester-le-Street during the recent Twenty20 international and the first ODI at Old Trafford had been reduced to 42 overs per side by a wet outfield, official sensibilities about the players’ welfare were naturally running high. Too high. It would surely have been possible to stage a 20-over game, for a crowd of 17,007, on what turned into a fine evening.

In the last generation - since the all time low of England's Centenary Test at Lord’s in 1980 - English cricket has invested in drainage and become excellent in putting on a show as soon as possible after rain. But this match was an exception to that rule.

England’s ODI captain Eoin Morgan spoke soon after the abandonment, before the rain had cleared away. So on meteorological matters he confined himself to the question of whether it is fair to play international matches so late in the season. “Yeah, I think it is”, Morgan said. “Given the amount of cricket we’re playing this summer, we’re forced to play a little bit later than we’d do normally”.

Cricket Wellington staff in limbo as 'ambitious' restructure confirmed.

Mark Geenty.

The Dominion Post.

Friday, 22 September 2017.

PTG 2256-11425.

Cricket Wellington (CW) is trumpeting a new dawn for the game in the region but won't say how many jobs will be lost in its major restructure.  Chief executive Cam Mitchell and board chair Sally Morrison confirmed on Thursday ambitious plans for "a new operating model and culture for the organisation and cricket in our region”.  It comes nearly a month after Mitchell summoned staff to a meeting where he outlined plans for nearly half his sixteen employees to have their jobs disestablished.

It is understood that former New Zealand international Chris Nevin, director of cricket Robbie Kerr and experienced and coaches Mark Borthwick and Ivan Tissera were among those told their roles were going. Staff were stunned and word quickly spread in cricket circles.  Mitchell said five new full-time jobs were being advertised: three in the community arm and two in player pathways to better identify future men and women national players.  CW's community arm currently numbers five employees, headed by Nevin and including Borthwick a former title-winner with CW’s womens’ side.

Mitchell, formerly New Zealand Football's community football director who was appointed as CW chief executive in April, said clubs and staff "fully supported" the plans but wouldn't speculate on staff numbers when the restructure was complete.  "It's to be determined once we work through this process. It is quite fluid and there's likelihood that people will need to make certain decisions”, said Mitchell.  "There may be some roles we exit over an extended period of time. Until we know where it sits I can't comment on the detail”.

No staff had yet departed the organisation, said Mitchell, who last month identified CW's recent "financial challenges" as a key area to address. CW's board commissioned an independent review of the organisation in April that included a range of "stakeholder focus groups" over a four-month period.  "There are some things we need to change in terms of how we operate as an organisation and that's what we're working hard on now”, Mitchell said.  "We're trying to take a whole of cricket, a whole of community approach to how we run it. This isn't a Cricket Wellington thing, it's about cricket in Wellington, and making sure all the stakeholders know what their roles are".

In a statement, CW said it would direct its energy to improving its successful 'One Club' program which supports the employment of nine club-based development officers. Two new CW jobs would be 'One Club' managers.  Identifying and developing young talent was another must-improve, hence the two player pathway roles.

Another busman’s holiday for ECB umpire.

PTG Eeditor.

Saturday, 23 September 2017.

PTG 2256-11426.

Steven O’Shaughnessy, a long-time member of the England and Wales Cricket Board’s top umpiring panel, will again be spending a large part of the English winter in Sydney, and whilst there is expected to spend some of his time standing in the Sydney Cricket Association's (SCA) Premier League club competition. O’Shaughnessy, 56, who made his first class debut as an umpire in April 2009 after playing at that level from 1980-89, was on-field in eleven SCA games during a four-month stint in Sydney last austral summer.

During the current English season, which has so far run for a total of 176 days, O’Shaughnessy spent a total of 73 of them standing in 41 matches.  Of those 13 were first class fixtures, 5 List A games, 16 county Twenty20s (4 being as the television umpire), five Womens’ Super League League T20s, 4 county second XI one layers, and two Under-19 One Day Internationals.

In addition to ten and a half weeks directly supporting games, there would have also been many others spent travelling as the matches he was appointed to involved him criss crossing England and Wales multiple times.  Grounds his matches wee played at were in places such as: Blackpoll, Bristol, Chester-le-Street, Hove, Scarborough and Southport, twice to Birmingham, Canterbury, Chelmsford, Leeds, Leicester, Manchester and Southampton, three times each to Derby and Nottingham, London four times and Cardiff five.

So after all that, and following the end of the county season week, its off to the warmth of a Sydney summer for O’Shaughnessy and yet more cricket,.

Six month bookie-related ban 'felt like six years’, says bowler.

Umar Farooq.

Cricinfo.

Friday, 22 September 2017.

PTG 2256-11427.

Pakistan fast bowler Mohammad Irfan, who last week finished serving a six-month ban after he pleaded guilty to failing to report two corrupt approaches made to him during this year’s Pakistan Super League (PSL) series, says his months out of the game “felt like six years”.  The 35-year-old said he didn't "lose anyone's respect" because he was banned for not reporting bookies' approaches; there were no fixing allegations against him. He also said he sees himself as a good prospect in Twenty20 cricket and is eyeing the next PSL and his country’s domestic first-class series to get back in contention for Pakistan.

"The last six months have been very tough on me [and] I incurred great losses”, Irfan said. "Indeed, it was my mistake, and I admitted it instantly, but there was no fixing allegations against me. But, in all this, I am thankful the situation wasn't any worse.  I worked in my private gym at home [during the suspension period] to keep myself fit and training privately, so I hope things will go well. These six months, I think I can view it as a rest period which will help me rejuvenate”.

Irfan came under the scanner during what was the second edition of the PSL in Dubai when a fixing scandal broke that eventually had Khalid Latif and Sharjeel Khan banned for five years (PTG 2254-11408, 21 September 2017). Irfan was found guilty of failing to report two approaches over a six-month period, to which he had admitted. Besides him, Mohammad Nawaz was the other player banned for two months for a similar indiscretion.

'Heartbreak' as vandals trash Chester cricket club.

Carmella de Lucia.

Chester Chronicle.

Friday, 22 September 2017.

PTG 2256-11428.

Vandals have wreaked havoc at the Saughall Cricket Club in Chester causing “heartbreaking" damage.  Those responsible, who have not been identified, slashed and ripped the club’s pitch covers and sight screens and the cost of repairing them is said to be “considerable”.  Martin Huxley, a player at club said it was "a kick in the teeth" to discover some of the club’s cricket equipment had been ‘trashed’ - especially after the tireless fundraising efforts that had helped pay for it.

“We are a village club who made the decision to really improve our facilities for the benefit of the village”, said Huxley. “Our hope is to grow as a club and offer youth cricket and to do this we have undertaken a lot of fundraising and have also been extremely thankful for some very generous donations.  I’ve seen first hand all of the tireless work club members have undertaken, so it’s heartbreaking to see.  We are only a small club, who heavily rely on the hard work of its members to survive. Vandalism like this sets us all back - not just financially - it’s like a kick in the teeth to people who want to improve the village”.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 2,257

Sunday, 24 September 2017

 

• ICC confirms corruption unit visit to Sri Lanka [PTG 2257-11429].

• Test matches in England could be cut to four days under ECB plans [PTG 2257-11430].

• Auckland’s Domain 'perfect venue for Tests’ [PTG 2257-11431].

• CA match officials’ complete busy pre-season preparations [PTG 2257-11432].

ICC confirms corruption unit visit to Sri Lanka.

Andrew Fidel Fernando.

Cricinfo.

Sunday, 24 September 2017.

PTG 2257-11429.

The International Criciket Council (ICC) has confirmed its Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU) has opened an investigation in Sri Lanka less than 48 hours after 40 top cricketers petitioned Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) to launch an inquiry into corruption allegations.  On Friday, SLC confirmed it had received a letter signed by national players, including captains Dinesh Chandimal and Upul Tharanga, urging the board to probe the "baseless allegations" the players claim were made by former cricketer and selector Pramodya Wickramasinghe, who talked on a local television station about "unnatural match patterns" and player selections at national level, also blaming the current management for the team's recent poor performance.

However, SLC stopped short of stating it would launch the probe, and merely recounted the current players' dismay at having their integrity questioned. But the ICC itself has now publicly established ACU officers have recently visited Sri Lanka in relation to an investigation.  ACU general manager Alex Marshall in an ICC statement: "The ICC Anti-Corruption Unit works to uphold integrity in cricket and this includes conducting investigations where there are reasonable grounds to do so.  There is currently an ACU investigation underway in Sri Lanka. Naturally, as part of this, we are talking to a number of people”.  It is uncommon for the ICC to comment on ongoing ACU investigations as they have on this occasion.

There have been rumours in Sri Lanka about the nature of play in a particular international match for several weeks, but no evidence of any nature has been produced, or even pointed to.  And while some present cricketers claim Wickramasinghe made wild allegations against them, he himself has more recently suggested that he was only making note of allegations that were already in circulation.  Nevertheless, Wickramasinghe has been cast as the source of these allegations. SLC said the players had expressed "profound shock and displeasure at a former national cricketer and selector making such serious allegations”, and that it should "initiate an immediate inquiry by summoning Wickramasinghe in fairness to their good names that have been slandered by such diabolic [sic.] allegations”.

Wickremasignhe's allegations are not the first to swirl around the Sri Lanka team.  In July, former Sri Lanka captain Arjuna Ranatunga, who led the national side to the 1996 World Cup title, demanded an inquiry into the team's defeat by India in the 2011 final in Mumbai which they lost by six wickets.  In making his concerns known two months ago he said: "When we lost, I was distressed and I had a doubt.  We must investigate what happened to Sri Lanka at [that final]. I cannot reveal everything now, but one day I will. There must be an inquiry”.

Test matches in England could be cut to four days under ECB plans.

Nick Hoult.

London Daily Telegraph.

Sunday, 24 september 2017.

PTG 2257-11430.

The traditional five-day Test, which has been a feature of the English summer for nearly 70 years, will end in 2020 if the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) successfully argues for the introduction of four-day matches.  The ECB is leading the push for Test matches to be reduced to four days after the 2019 Ashes summer, believing it is the best way to breathe new life into the game’s oldest format and is confident it has the support of broadcasters and host grounds.

A four-day Test would start in England half an hour earlier at 10.30 a.m. to give teams more time to bowl the increased number of overs in a day, and with all venues now having floodlights play would be extended where possible.  Sources say the ECB will put its weight behind the switch to four-day Tests at the next board meeting of the International Cricket Council (ICC) in New Zealand in October, which will discus the ongoing restructuring of the game and introduction of a Test championship in 2020.

The ECB’s support for four-day Test cricket will alarm traditionalists, who already feel the game is being squeezed by too much Twenty20 with the introduction of a new league in England in two years’ time.  Reducing Test matches to four days will help the ECB and other boards schedule their domestic Twenty20 leagues and ease the workload on players.

It is understood the ECB’s new broadcast deal does not guarantee Test matches will be scheduled for five days, removing one potential obstacle for change (PTG 2185-11079, 1 July 2017). A shift to four-day Tests would enable the ECB to guarantee Thursday starts for each match, which is the preferred option for Test match grounds as it allows them to maximise corporate income. Next summer, England and India are squeezing a five-match Test series into seven weeks, forcing Trent Bridge to host a game that starts on Saturday, an approach that makes the sale of corporate hospitality boxes very difficult.

Test matches have been scheduled over five days since 1973. A series that year between New Zealand and Pakistan was the last to be played over four days.  But South Africa announced this week it plans to play a four-day Test starting on Boxing Day against Zimbabwe and the ICC are set to give it approval at its October board meeting (PTG 2256-11421, 23 September 2017). More experiments with four days are expected around the world over the next twelve months as the initiative gathers momentum.

Colin Graves, the chairman of the ECB, and its chief executive, Tom Harrison, have both publicly supported the concept of four-day Test matches over the past year (PTG 2079-10524, 20 March 2017). The ECB’s support is significant because England is the only country in the world where Test matches are consistently sold out.  Last year Graves said about four-day Tests: “Every Test match would start on a Thursday, with Thursday and Friday being corporate days and then Saturday and Sunday the family days.  From a cost point of view you'd lose that fifth day, which would save a lot of money from the ground's point of view and the broadcasters... I would look at that”.

Only two of England’s seven Tests this northern summer lasted into the fifth day. In the 1980s, 77 per cent of Test matches ended on the fifth day, but that has reduced to 58 per cent since the start of this century.  There are fears that reducing Tests to four days will increase the number of draws, but with this generation of players brought up on Twenty20, the pace of the game has changed and is unlikely to slow down.

The majority of players are believed to remain sceptical about four-day Tests because of the problem with over rates. England often use the extra half-hour to bowl the 90 overs minimum in a day of Test cricket with delays such as appeals under the Umpire Decision Review System slowing the game down. The ICC will have to address over rates or players accept they have to bat on under floodlights if the four-day plan is to become a reality.

Auckland’s Domain 'perfect venue for Tests’.

Michael Burgess.

New Zealand Herald.

Sunday, 24 September 2017.

PTG 2257-11431.

 

The Auckland Domain, that city’s oldest park and at 75 hectares one of the largest in the region while lies a few kilometres from the central business area, should become the future home of Test cricket in the city, according to some prominent cricketing personalities in this country, led by former New Zealand captain Mark Burgess.  Burgess, who played 50 Tests from 1968-1980 and is one of only a handful of Kiwis to score centuries in three consecutive Tests, thinks the Domain is the logical - and best - venue for the sport in the city.  He's found support from some respected names in the sport, including other former New Zealand captains and players.

Burgess said he thinks “the game would find a new heart in Auckland at the Domain.  With not much work, it could be made into something that showed off Auckland and reintroduced the game to the city. It's accessible, it has a great natural setting and ambience and the perfect atmosphere for cricket. I can't see why it is not part of the discussion”.

Eden Park has been Auckland's Test match venue since 1930, next March’s fixture against England being its 49th, but there is an increasingly held view that it won't be suitable into the future. The stadium has always had small boundaries, but the reconfiguration for the 2011 Rugby World Cup created a doll house-like effect for today's big-hitting batsmen, and the ground requires a special exemption from the International Cricket Council to play internationals there.

"Cricket deserves to have the right platform to present itself, which it just doesn't do in Auckland”, said Burgess. "Eden Park is an uninviting place in the main oval. There is a lot of concrete, it's not the kind of place you can wander around and relax. It's better out the back on the number two field but access isn't easy”.

Although only used for park cricket now, the Domain has a long history in the sport. The City and Suburban Cricket Association was formed in 1913, and club games, and occasional first-class matches - 33 in the period from 1877-1913 - were played there for most of last century, before the City and Suburban club folded in the early 1980s.  Burgess' vision takes inspiration from Christchurch's Hagley Park, which has become one of the most picturesque and popular cricket venues in the country with minimal impact on the natural surroundings.

"Whatever you did there, you wouldn't need to change it to prevent anything it is currently used for, like the evening concerts”, said Burgess. "It would actually enhance the ground and those events. It's also accessible, with motorway both ways, cars, rail, buses. And it's walking distance from the city”.

CA match officials’ complete busy pre-season preparations.

PTG Editor.

Sunday, 24 September 2017.

PTG 2257-11432.

With Cricket Australia’s (CA) five-month long 2017-18 austral summer season to get underway next Wednesday with a 23-match List A series, its Match Officials Unit (MOU) wrapped up a busy period of preparation over six days last week, first with its inaugural Match Referee Accreditation workshop and then its annual pre-season Match Officials’ Seminar.  The focus of the two meetings, both of which were held in Brisbane, was to further prepare and support match officials for the coming season across a range of key areas.

The Match Referee Accreditation workshop brought together members of CA's top-tier National Referees’ Panel and the newly constituted Supplementary Referees’ Panel (PTG 2212-11188, 25 July 2017).  Its focus was on CA’s newly developed Match Referee accreditation system, what was a ‘face-to-face’ meeting supplementing an on-line course attendees were required to complete beforehand that contained relevant resource material and knowledge-based assessment tasks (PTG 2171-11008, 21 June 2017).  

Over the three days issues addressed at the workshop included: an emphasise on the importance of teamwork; the management of conflict; dealing with a range of factors involved in overseeing interrupted matches; ‘mock' Code of Conduct hearings across a range of match-type incidents; as well as a post-match debrief role-play session; and umpire assessment techniques.  

The latter had a very practical component in that it included watching national panel umpires standing in state squad practice games being played in the area at the time.  Most CA umpiring panel members have been engaged in a range of pre-season matches in south-east Queensland involving either state playing squads or Queensland Cricket’s first grade completion which got underway at the start of this month.  Those based in New South Wales stood in the opening round of Sydney Cricket Association games on Saturday.

The day after the referee accreditation workshop ended, those who took part went on the Match Officials’ Seminar which also ran for three days.  Other attendees at that gathering were members of CA’s National and Development umpire panels (PTG 2234-11314, 21 August 2017), CA Head of Cricket Operations Peter Roach, its MOU group, including manager Sean Easey, referee and umpire selection manager Simon Taufel, umpire coach Ian Lock, and staffers Chris Grant, Cate Ryan, plus Steve Davis who with Easey and Taufel make up the national body’s umpire selection group.  

A key focus of the Seminar was on the Playing Conditions that will apply for CA domestic first class, one-day, Twenty20 and state second XI series matches scheduled for the coming season, presentations on them being given by three-man groups made up of both referees and umpires.  The new Laws Code, which those present had worked through well prior to the seminar, was also discussed with Taufel, who worked with the Marylebone Cricket Club’s (MCC) Laws sub-committee that played the key role in formulating the new Code (PTG 2067-10462, 7 March 2017), going through the intent and rationale behind each of the changes the MCC has signed off on.

There was a solid component of third umpire training and system operations, the Athlete Management System used by CA as both a developmental and performance monitoring tool was covered, proposed Code of Conduct issues and guidelines addressed, the stress in the latter area being on developing a consistent approach and the importance of effective working relationships between umpires and referees.  Presentations were also given by those umpires and referees who have been engaged in assignments over the austral winter, including Sam Nogajski’s visit to South Africa (PTG 2208-11175, 22 July 2017), and the involvement of umpires Claire Polosak and Paul Wilson and referee Steve Bernard in the Womens’ World Cup in England, the latter two working in the final of that series (PTG 2209-11179, 22 July 2017).  

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 2,258

Monday, 25 September 2017

 

• ICC still 'in process’ of filling TV Umpire Performance Manager job [PTG 2258-11433].

• SLC stresses need to cooperate with ICC probe [PTG 2258-11434].

• ECB deny pushing for four-day Test matches [PTG 2258-11435].

• Club's new square wrecked by hoons doing ‘doughnuts’ [PTG 2258-11436].

ICC still ‘in process’ of filling TV Umpire Performance Manager job.

PTG Editor.

Monday, 25 September 2017.

PTG 2258-11433.

Ten months after the closing date for applications, the International Cricket Council (ICC) is yet to announce just who will become its first 'TV Umpire Performance Manager’.  The advertisement calling for applications released late last year indicated the person chosen will be responsible for the overall management, assessment, development, training and support of international umpires assigned to television review spots, as well as the hardware, systems and processes involved in technology-based decision making (PTG 2045-10361, 11 February 2017).

The ICC, which indicated on Sunday that its Cricket Operations area is “in the process of finalising this appointment”, said in its call for applications for the job that the responsibilities of the manager will include, but are not limited to working with, members of its top Elite Umpires Panel, second-tier International Umpires Panel, and third-tier Development Panel.  There was also mention of the need for the individual chosen to work closely with home boards in the development of strategies and training of "top emerging domestic TV umpires".

Those who applied for the new position were expected to have had coaching experience in a relevant field, as well as “a very good understanding of the Laws and playing conditions; exceptional time management skills including the ability to work remotely; strong interpersonal and communication skills; be motivated and have an enthusiastic attitude; the ability to build strong personal relationships; and be a good team player with a flexible approach”.  

Current International Cricket Council (ICC) ‘Umpire of the Year' Marais Erasmus said late last year that he feels more pressure while working as a television umpire than on the field because there is no room for error when looking at referrals.  "On field mistakes are‚ to a certain extent‚ understandable but you are not supposed to make a wrong decision while reviewing on television”, said the South African (PTG 2021-10222, 6 January 2017).

There has been no sign that due to the lack of suitable candidates applying that the ICC re-advertised the position in the since the call for applications was first made.  Precisely what is causing the delay in filling the position is not known.

SLC stresses need to cooperate with ICC probe.

PTG Editor.

Monday, 25 September 2017.

PTG 2258-11434.

Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) has asked all national players and its employees to cooperate fully with an International Cricket Council (ICC) investigation into suggestions by two former players of match-related abnormalities and other forms of corruption.  SLC said on Sunday its executive committee had directed players and staff to cooperate with investigators from ICC's Anti-Corruption Unit (PTG 2257-11429, 24 September 2017).  It went on to state: “We are committed to working closely with the ICC to complete this inquiry expeditiously and give our players the freedom to concentrate on playing their cricket”.

ECB deny pushing for four-day Test matches.

Lawrence Booth.

London Daily Mail.

Monday, 25 September 2017.

PTG 2258-11435.

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) have moved quickly to play down a report that they will push for four-day Tests at next month's International Cricket Committee meeting in New Zealand, but there is no doubt the notion is gaining momentum (PTG 2257-11429, 24 September 2017).  The suggestion on the weekend that England could be hosting four-day Tests from the summer of 2020 confirmed a story published last year in which ECB chairman Colin Graves insisted that the idea had support from the international community (PTG 2079-10524, 20 March 2017).

The ECB said in a statement on Sunday they had 'no firm position' on the subject, adding: 'We can see benefits that more compact scheduling might deliver but are sensitive to the potential effects of any change to the traditional format”  Crucially, perhaps, they went on to say it was 'important that cricket is prepared to innovate in all formats of the game where it can help drive interest, accessibility or improvement’.  That echoes the position of Graves. He believes the loss of a day would allow each Test to begin on Thursday, with the first two days making money from corporate hospitality, and the weekend dedicated to ordinary fans.

Club's new square wrecked by hoons doing ‘doughnuts’.

Terry Wilson.

Gold Coast Bulletin.

Monday, 25 September 2017.

PTG 2258-11436.

Members of a club on Queensland’s Gold Coast are devastated after their new $A60,000 (£UK35,365) square was destroyed by hoons doing doughnuts on the ground at the weekend.  The Palm Beach-Currumbin Club’s recently-laid five-pitch block at Salk Oval was torn up by tyre tracks late on Saturday, and the damage is such that the ground may not be available for use for ten weeks or more.

Club president Ryan Kettle said: Obviously it doesn’t look great and there seems a fair bit of damage to the pitch.  It will need work to repair it and that costs money”.  The club shares Salk Oval in alternate seasons with the Palm Beach-Currumbin Australian Rules Football club whose members were celebrating their grand final win against Labrador on Saturday.   Kettle said: “I would really like to think it had nothing to do with the football club”. 

Football club president Anne Cornish said her club was looking into the matter and would take appropriate action if warranted.  She said she had no idea of what went on during the early hours and who was to blame for the vandalism.  “We don’t know whether it was supporters, footballers or whether it was just a random thing.  We’ll be working with the cricket club but until we know what has gone on there’s not much we can do at this stage”, said Cornish.

Kettle, who plays first grade for Palm Beach-Currumbin, said the weekend incident was the second similar act of vandalism to the Salk Oval wicket block in five years.  That incident also involved a car being driven through a boundary fence and on to the square. On that occasion a scoreboard was also trashed and set on fire in the middle of the ground.  

Another Palm Beach-Currumbin cricket official, treasurer and player Chris Carroll, said the new wicket block was “stuffed”.  “There has been a whole lot of hard work gone into the new block but now the whole thing has been cooked [and] we’d like to see someone man up and to do something about it”.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 2,259

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

 

• Middlesex in a spin amid Taunton pitch controversy [PTG 2259-11437].

• Four-day Tests alone are not the answer [PTG 2259-11438].

• ODI debut for Aussie umpire [PTG 2259-11439].

• ‘Snapchat’ shows football celebrations group damaging square [PTG 2259-11440].

Middlesex in a spin amid Taunton pitch controversy.

Scyld Berry.

London Daily Telegraph.

Tuesday, 26 September 2017.

PTG 2259-11437.

Middlesex, last year’s county champions who are likely to be relegated to Division Two if they are beaten by Somerset in the two side’s last game of the season, are privately furious that Taunton’s pitch has favoured the home spinners so much. After Middlesex as the visitors decided to go ahead with the normal toss on Monday, which saw Somerset win and decide to bat, the home side were dismissed for 236, then their left-arm spinner Jack Leach opened the bowling when Middlesex batted and took 2/3 in seven overs to put the home side on top by stumps.

County cricket has the equivalent of a Match Referee in the England and Wales Cricket Board's Cricket Liaison Officer, in this case Wayne Noon, a former Northants and Notts wicketkeeper (PTG 2053-10400, 19 February 2017).  He said after play ended: “I’m going to sleep on it and I’ll [talk to the media] tomorrow if you want. I’ve had a hot line all day, as you can imagine”.

Context makes this conflict even more heated. Somerset missed out on their first ever championship last year because Middlesex made Yorkshire commit to chasing a target of 240 off 40 overs right until the end, even when there was no chance of winning, instead of blocking out for a draw that would have given Somerset the title.

The impartial view has to be that the pitch - used for Somerset’s last home game - turned lavishly but not, so far, too excessively. If Ravi Patel, Middlesex’s left-arm spinner, who took career-best figures of 7/81 in Somerset’s innings, had not taken a championship wicket all season, that says much about modern county cricket - and the fact that Middlesex usually only play one spinner, Ollie Rayner, who was out with an intercostal injury. Patel has represented England Lions, and he bowled tidily, a touch slower than Leach; he rated the pitch “good, for me, as a spinner”.

This turn, however, while lavish, was not unpredictable. The ball did not shoot, and while it sometimes gripped and bounced, it did not kick or spit from nowhere. Evidence for this was the astonishing innovation by Somerset’s Marcus Trescothick who fielded at second slip, for some of the spinners, on his knees. He said he had tried it in the nets and the game against Lancashire, having checked it did not contravene the Laws, and found he could field closer and catch balls that would not have otherwise carried.

When Noon decides whether Somerset should be deducted points or not - which is likely to be the difference between their being relegated or staying up - he will have to take into account the lamentable standard of numerous batsmen. Four of Somerset’s batsmen fell to sweeps, two to reverse-sweeps, and one to a rush down the pitch.  The Middlesex batsmen did not fair much better in their dismissals.

Four-day Tests alone are not the answer.

Mike Atherton.

The Times.

Monday, 25 September 2017.

PTG 2259-11438.

When does comment become cliché? About Test cricket, administrators trot out a stock phrase with increasing glibness: “We can’t keep loving Test cricket to death”. they say, meaning that doing nothing would lead to its inexorable decline.

Instead, they will tinker Test cricket to death. The latest tinkering is the possibility of four-day Test cricket. Although the England and Wales Cricket Board’s (ECB) official position on four-day Test cricket is neutral (PTG 2258-11435, 25 September 2017), it was championed by Tom Harrison, the chief executive, six months ago (“we will get there in the end,” he said) (PTG 2079-10524, 20 March 2017), is given increasing support by administrators the world over and is likely to be given the thumbs-up by International Cricket Council (ICC) for a Test between South Africa and Zimbabwe on Boxing Day this year (PTG 2256-11421, 23 September 2017).

If it happens, it will be the first time that a Test will not have been scheduled over five days since 1973. More are likely to follow.  But interest in Test cricket is not waning because of its duration. After all, many fewer Tests go into the fifth day now than ever did before. Between 1975-79, three-quarters of Tests went into the final day, rising to 77 per cent in the 1980s.  Since then, as the speed of the game has increased, and more matches have ended in results, so the average duration has shortened. In this decade, only 58 per cent of Tests have lasted so long.

Test cricket is suffering because of the squeeze on the calendar, and the alternatives that present themselves for players and supporters. With an increasingly brutal schedule, with domestic Twenty20 and Tests overlapping in 2020, England’s new tournament will take place at the same time as Tests, for example — players and supporters make the inevitable choice: money and an easy life for players, time and accessibility for supporters.

Four-day Test cricket will not change this. Only more imaginative and radical solutions will prevent Test cricket’s slide into irrelevance. Cutting 50-over cricket, with the exception of ICC global tournaments, would provide space in the calendar and give a leg-up to first-class cricket. Or, if administrators want to keep three forms of the game, then they have to be brought together in a schedule with an overarching rationale, so as not to force the best players away from the long form of the game.

Tinkering around the edges will not help. That said, nobody really knows what the effects of reducing the duration of Test cricket will be. There could be some advantages: pitches would have to be reasonably bowler-friendly; over rates would have to increase, although 105 overs in a day may be a stretch; more overs in a day may force captains to play five bowlers or more, and bowl more spin; and captains would have to be proactive in their determination to win. A set Thursday-to-Sunday schedule would please broadcasters, the corporates and the weekend spectator.

Against that would be the obvious concerns about weather in England, and the number of matches that bubble up into a fine conclusion on the final day. The best day’s cricket this year was the fifth day at Headingley when West Indies won a nail-biting encounter. Those are the days that stay with you.

Above all, anything that negated the drive to take 20 wickets to win would be counter-productive to the game in its purest form — which is to say, a game where bowlers are striving to get batsmen out, rather than waiting for them to get out.  If four-day Test cricket is to be trialled, it should be trialled gently, as day-night Test cricket has been, rather than conspiring five-day cricket to history. Either way, it will not get to the heart of the matter, which is scheduling and how the three forms of the game fit together into one coherent whole.

ODI debut for Aussie umpire.

PTG Editor.

Tuesday, 26 September 2017.

PTG 2259-11439.

Australian umpire Sam Nogajski, who is about to commence his second year as a member of the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP) (PTG 2234-11314, 21 August 2017), is to make his One Day (ODI) International debut in Port Moresby early next month when Papua New Guinea (PNG) plays Scotland in two World Cricket League Division one matches.  

PNG sources say Nogajski and his countryman, ICC second-tier Regional Referees Panel member Steve Bernard, have been appointed as the neutral officials for the two ODIs and the single Intercontinental Cup four-day first class fixture the two sides will play in the PNG capital in the period from 1-8 October.  Nogajski, who debuted at Twenty20 International level last February (PTG 2034-10303, 30 January 2017), will stand with ICC third-tier Development Panel members Lakani Oala and Alu Kapa during the three games.  

It is the third year Bernard will have been in Port Moresby to oversee matches involving the PNG international side, the neutral umpires standing in the matches he has been involved having been Chris Brown, a New Zealand IUP member, and former Australian IUP member Mick Martell (PTG 1948-9802, 16 October 2016).

‘Snapchat’ shows football celebrations group damaging square.

Jack Harbour and Terry Wilson.

Gold Coast Bulletin.

Tuesday, 26 September 2017.

PTG 2259-11440.

Individuals apparently associated with the Palm Beach-Currumbin Australian Rules Football club in south-east Queensland have been caught on image messaging and multimedia mobile application ‘Snapchat' causing $A60,000 (£UK35,365) worth of damage to the cricket club’s pitch in what has been described as "out of control" grand final celebrations (PTG 2258-11436, 25 September 2017).  The football club accepted responsibility for the damage bill after 'Snapchat 'video emerged of its players on scene as a car doing doughnuts ripped up the pitch in the early hours of Sunday morning.

Football club president Anne Cornish said the club accepted responsibility for the damage.  "We won [the grand final] on Saturday and [the damage] occurred in the early hours of Sunday morning.  We’ll take full responsibility. It was a football club function.  We’ll pay for the damage to rectify the pitch. We don’t have any individuals to pinpoint this on but we’ve banned the boys from the ground at this point and we’ll be talking with the leadership group tomorrow”

Cricket club president Ryan Kettle said he was devastated by the damage and called on the football club to get rid of those responsible. “The assumption is it’s either players or supporters of the senior footy club”, he said. “I would call it celebrations gone out-of-control.  Hopefully this is contained to a few idiots within the organisation that will hopefully get the boot as soon as possible.  For me it’s just more of a disappointment that players within the footy club would feel the need to do that"

But Cornish said it was unclear yet as to whether any players were actually driving the car that did the damage.  She said the club would investigate the incident and discuss penalties among the leadership group.  “We need to find out the facts first … we need to find out who’s done what and why and all the rest of it before we even think about what sanctions will apply.  We still don’t know if it’s the actual players. The footage shows the players standing around the actual car … we’re not sure about the drivers — this is the problem”.  Palm Beach Police Station officer-in-charge Senior Sergeant Leanne Major said police were aware of the incident but that “No official complaint has been made by the cricket club … at this point in time”.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 2,260

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

 

• Club relegated after 'unfair' win but keeps league title [PTG 2260-11441].

• ‘Red cards’, bat size limits, included in new ICC Playing Conditions [PTG 2260-11442].

• No ‘send offs’, ‘sin bins’, for most Aussie Premier Leagues [PTG 2260-11443].

• ‘Incident’ in Bristol sees players dropped for ODI [PTG 2260-11444].

• Female to stand in CA List A fixture for the first time [PTG 2260-11445].

• Counties call for only one side to go down [PTG 2260-11446].

Club relegated after 'unfair' win but keeps league title.

PTG Editor

Wednesday, 27 September 2017.

PTG 2260-11441.

Carew Cricket Club in south-west Wales who deliberately lost their final match of the Pembroke County Cricket League’s Division one season late last month against title rivals Cressellyt, has been relegated to Division Two in 2018 by a disciplinary committee, however, it will still keep its 2017 Division One title.  Carew declared after on 1/18 after two-and-a half overs in order to prevent title rivals Cresselly earning enough bonus points to win the league title, Carew topping the premiership table by one point as a result (PTG 2240-11335, 6 September 2017).

A four-man disciplinary panel was set up by the Pembroke County Cricket Club (PCCC) following complaints about the principles involved, and Carew were subsequently charged with  bringing the game into disrepute (PTG 2248-11384, 14 September 2017).  PCCC officials said Carew did not technically break any rules, however, the panel decided on Tuesday evening that their approach to the game warranted their relegation.

‘Red cards’, bat size limits, included in new ICC Playing Conditions. 

PTG Editor.

Wednesday, 27 September 2017.

PTG 2260-11442.

Significant changes to International Cricket Council (ICC) Playing Conditions that deal with matters such as player conduct, bat size and Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) operations, come into effect on Wednesday, the day the Test series between South Africa and Bangladesh and Pakistan and Sri Lanka get underway in Potchefstroom and Abu Dhabi respectively.  The revised playing regulations incorporate most, but not all, of the changes that flow from the new Laws Code, plus others recommended to the ICC board by its Cricket Committee (PTG 2146-10888, 26 May 2017).

A player can now be sent off the field for the rest of an international match should match officials judge they have committed a Level 4, 'serious misconduct', offence, while those incidents that fall into the Levels 1-3 will continue to be dealt with under the ICC Code of Conduct; which means that unlike the new Law 42, temporary dismissals from the field of play, or ‘sin binning’, will not apply.   Now that the ICC's detailed regulations in regards to Law 42 are available it is clear Cricket Australia’s domestic Playing Conditions, which were put on line last week, came direct from the ICC as they follow the world body’s version word-for-word (PTG 2252-11399, 18 September 2017).

While the permitted length and width of bats remain unchanged, in order to maintain the balance between bat and ball, the size of their edges will be restricted to no more than 40 mm and the overall depth to 67 mm, another change that comes from the new Laws Code (PTG 1998-10084, 8 December 2016). Umpires are being issued with a new bat gauge with which they can, if there is any question, use to check a bat’s legality.

 

 

For run outs, if a batsman is running or diving towards the crease with forward momentum, and has grounded their bat behind the popping crease but subsequently loses contact with the ground at the time of the wickets being put down, the batsman will not be run out. The same interpretation will also apply for a batsman trying to regain their ground to avoid being stumped.

In Test matches there will be no more top-up of UDRS reviews after 80 overs of an innings, meaning that there can only be two unsuccessful reviews in each innings, while the UDRS will now also be allowed to be used in Twenty20Is.  In addition a review will now not be lost in cases where a decision made by an umpire remains unchanged solely as the result of an ‘umpire’s call’ (PTG 2146-10892, 26 May 2017).

 

For boundary catches, airborne fielders making their first contact with the ball will need to have taken off from within the boundary, otherwise a boundary will be scored.  Also, a batsman can now be out caught, stumped or run out even if the ball bounces off the helmet worn by a fielder or wicket-keeper (PTG 1998-10086, 8 December 2016).

ICC General Manager Cricket Geoff Allardice said in a media release: “Most of the changes to the ICC Playing Conditions are being made as a result of changes to the Laws of Cricket. We have just completed a workshop with the umpires to ensure they understand all of the changes and we are now ready to introduce the new playing conditions to international matches” (PTG 2250-11392, 16 September 2017).

No ‘send offs’, ‘sin bins’, for most Aussie Premier Leagues. 

PTG Editor.

Wednesday, 27 September 2017.

PTG 2260-11443.

Four of the six first class feeder Premier Leagues (PL) in Australia, those in Adelaide, Brisbane, Hobart and Sydney, have decided not to include either the ‘send off’ or ‘sin bin’ provisions of the new Law 42 into their Playing Conditions for the 2017-18 austral summer.  The two other PLs in Perth and Melbourne have adopted Law 42 into their Playing conditions, the former it is understood in full, while the latter has included everything except the five run penalty provisions contained in the new Laws Code, at the same time “beefing up" its Code of Conduct regulations.

There appear to be a number of reasons why the four who put the full provisions to one side took that approach, at the same time though not ruling out doing so in a future season.  A prime one was the lack of advice from Cricket Australia (CA) as to how they proposed to proceed (PTG 2112-10706, 25 April 2017), CA in turn apparently waiting for the International Cricket Council to detail just how it proposed to handle the matter.

That information vacuum (PTG 2227-11284, 11 August 2017), at a time pre-season Laws schools for match officials were already underway, led to concerns amongst some PL organisers about their ability to develop, and present on a timely basis, appropriate training courses for match officials, particularly given the fundamental change to on-field match management the new Law 42 entails (PTG 2162-10967, 13 June 2017).  In addition, reviews of player disciplinary records in recent years suggested to some that the frequency of ’serious misconduct’ cases in their competitions indicated their current disciplinary systems are adequate to deal with the type of circumstances covered by Law 42.

CA, which runs the domestic first class, one-day and Twenty20 competitions PL players feed into, ultimately decided to follow the ICC’s part approach to Law 42 of ‘send offs’ for serious misconduct but no ‘sin bins’ (PTG 2252-11399, 18 September 2017).

‘Incident’ in Bristol sees players dropped for ODI.

PTG Editor.

Wednesday, 27 September 2017.

PTG 2260-11444.

England Test vice-captain Ben Stokes was arrested following an incident in Bristol in the early hours of Monday morning and both he and teammate Alex Hales have as a result been dropped by England for Wednesday's fourth One Day International (ODI) of the series against the West Indies at The Oval.  The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) confirmed on Tuesday that Stokes had been arrested and held overnight before being released the following morning, while Hales was said to be helping police with inquiries.  

Police issued a plea for information, saying a 26-year-old man [Stoke’s age] had been "arrested on suspicion of causing actual bodily harm" and had since been "released under investigation”.  In a statement the ECB confirmed Stokes’ arrest "following an incident in Bristol”, and his subsequent detainment and release "without charge” and that he "will not join the team in London”.  “Hales, who was with Stokes on Sunday night, did not train this morning”, continued the ECB, "and has returned voluntarily to Bristol today to help Police with their enquiries”. 

Female to stand in CA List A fixture for the first time.

PTG Editor.

Wednesday, 27 September 2017.

PTG 2260-11445.

Two members of Cricket Australia’s (CA) second-tier umpire Development Panel, Donovan Koch and Claire Polosak, are to stand in their first List A matches, and former first class umpire Bob Parry make his referee debut at that level, in the 21 match round-robin part of this year’s CA domestic one-day series which gets underway in Brisbane on Wednesday.  Polosak, 29, becomes the first female appointed by CA to stand in a senior men’s interstate match, while Koch, 40, and Parry, 64, have previously been on-field in List A games, the former playing at that level in South Africa in the late 1990s, and the latter as an umpire in 64 games in the period from 1997-2012.

Polosak has been allocated one match and Koch and Parry each two in their respective roles, the other 39 umpire and 40 referee spots going to members of CA’s twelve-man National Umpires Panel (NUP) (PTG 2234-11314, 21 August 2017) and Parry’s five colleagues on CA's National Referees Panel (NRP) (PTG 2212-11188, 25 July 2017). Of particular note is that NRP member and former international umpire Daryl Harper, whose health has been under a cloud this year (PTG 2153-10922, 31 May 2017), has been named to oversee three matches.  The twelve scorers named for the series in Brisbane, Hobart, Perth and Sydney, are from those cities, the exception being Adelaide’s Neil Ricketts who will work in Sydney. 

For CA, Polosak is the spearhead of its push to bring more females into umpiring at all levels around the country, the national body's target being to have, by 2021, women filling five per cent of umpire numbers, around 25, in grades one to four across Australia's six first class feeder Premier League (PL) competitions (PTG 2154-10925, 1 June 2015).  During the 2016-17 season five females between them stood in around 25 Australian PL matches.  This year as part of its initiative, CA has been offering its Level One umpiring course to females at no cost (PTG  2227-11282, 11 August 2017), however, it will take several years to see if that program translates into actual PL umpires.  For the past year Polasak has worked part-time presenting such courses in New South Wales as that state's "umpire education female engagement” officer.

Polosak, who began umpiring aged 15, was in the right place and time when CA commenced its female umpire initiative (PTG 1101-5359, 8 May 2013).  Her PL first grade debut came in October 2014, membership of CA’s Project Panel and both it and the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) Development Panels and the award of a National Officiating Scholarship (NOS) coming soon after.  CA sent her on exchange to New Zealand for a womens’ U-21 series, the ICC to Thailand for a Womens’ World Twenty20 Championship (WWT20C) Qualifier series and then India for the 2016 WWT20C.  She worked as the television umpire in a CA List A game in late 2015 and there have been six others as a fourth official.  Debut at Womens’ One Day International (ODI) level came last November, the same month as her first mens' state second XI four-day fixture, after which there was an Under-19 Test and ODI.  This February saw her stand in a Womens’ World Cup (WWC) Qualifier series in Sri Lanka and then in June-July the WWC in England.  

Koch, whose second List A game next month will be played on his 41st birthday, was born in South Africa and featured in 21 first class and 20 List A games there in the period from 1997-2002, after that playing several matches in County Second XI competitions in England.  From 2009-12 he stood in the Yorkshire Premier League and then a range of Minor County and County Second XI three-day, one-day and Twenty20 fixtures.  A year after moving to Queensland in 2013 he was appointed to a CA Under-17 mens’ championship series, state second XI games, and in December 2015 a CA Under-19 championship at which he was selected for the final.  In March last year he was awarded a NOS and two months after that elevated to the DP .

Parry, 64, who joined CA as its Umpire Educator four years ago (PTG 1116-5426, 4 June 2013), is a former first class umpire and Umpire Manager with both Cricket Victoria (CV) and the ICC’s East-Asia Pacific region.  He was a member of the NUP for 11 years from 2001-12, making his debut at first-class level in December 1998 and went on to stand in 83 such matches, four of them finals of Australia's domestic first class competition the Sheffield Shield.  Parry worked as the television umpire in seven Tests, was on-field in four ODIs, and another 31 as the third umpire.  A total of his 45 List A fixtures were in Australia's one-day competitions, two of those being finals.  Six years ago he was awarded a CV Umpire Achievement Award for passing the 400 match mark as an umpire across club, interstate and international cricket (PTG 753-3695, 5 April 2011).

Parry, and if CA follows past trends Koch, are likely to return to first class cricket in their new roles before the end of this year.  CA umpire selectors Sean Easey, Simon Taufel and Steve Davis may also be mind full, in assessing Polosak’s on-going performance, of CA High Performance Manager Pat Howard’s comment three years ago that he wanted a female umpire on-field and visible in CA’s high-pressure, televised, Big Bash League at the earliest appropriate opportunity.  

Counties call for only one side to go down.

Elizabeth Ammon and Geoffrey Dean.

The Times.

Wednesday, 27 September 2017.

PTG 2260-11446.

The England and Wales Cricket Board's (ECB) Cricket Committee is likely to discuss the possibility of reducing the number of counties relegated from Division One of the County Championship from two to one.  It is understood that at least two counties have made representations to the governing body, arguing that demoting 25 per cent of the eight-team top division is too much, and that the present system increases the chance of one of the wealthier clubs being relegated who could dominate Division Two the next year.

The Cricket Committee, which is chaired by former Nottinghamshire chairman Peter Wright, will meet in mid-November to discuss next year’s playing regulations for domestic tournaments before consulting with the counties and putting any proposed changes to the ECB board for approval.  It is unlikely that a return to one up, one down would be met by approval from most counties, particularly those in Division Two.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 2,261

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

(Second edition)

 

• MCC launches new Laws e-learning and accreditation system [PTG 2261-11447].

• ‘Unfair’ Welsh club appeals disciplinary sanctions [PTG 2261-11448].

MCC launches new Laws e-learning and accreditation system.

PTG Editor

Wednesday, 27 September 2017.

PTG 2261-11447.

The Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) has launched a new e-learning and accreditation system that will be available world-wide to those interested in the Laws and their application.  The project was first flagged publicly three years ago and came about as a result of a ‘strategic review’ of the Club’s operations, an analysis that recognised the MCC needed to be more proactive in promoting and guarding the Laws and the philosophy contained in them (PTG 1409-6802, 8 August 2014). 

The MCC says the program, which is being released a few days before the new Laws Code comes into force on Sunday (PTG 2102-10650, 12 April 2017), "is not a qualification [system] for new umpires, but governing bodies around the world can use [it] as a very helpful starting point to make sure any candidates who want to go into umpiring already have a firm knowledge of the Laws of Cricket”.  It contains 68 game-footage clips, as well as 15 Laws animations narrated by Stephen Fry (PTG 1576-7576, 25 June 2015), 42 Laws introductions and ‘top tips’ from international umpires Aleem Dar, Kumar Dharmasena, Marais Erasmus, Richard Kettleborough, Bruce Oxenford and Simon Taufel. 

The on-line system has four main sections: ‘An introduction to the Laws and the spirit of cricket’; ‘Laws e-learning modules’; 'Laws reference materials'; and ‘Exam questions, certificate and evaluation’.  The six modules follow the MCC’s new Laws structure (PTG 2102-10651, 12 April 2017), they being titled: 'Setting up the game’ covering Laws 1-12; 'Innings and result’ (13-16); ‘The Over, Scoring Runs, Dead Ball and Extras' (17-23); ‘Fielders, Substitutes, Batsmen, Runners, Practice on the Field, Wicketkeeper' (24-28); ‘Appeals and Dismissals’ (29-40); and ‘Unfair Play’ (41-42).  

 

Within individual modules each Law is introduced by one of either former Middlesex player Simon Hughes or Sky Sports News presenter Hayley McQueen who, in short video clips, summarises the key aspects of that Law.  Once inside a module navigation is straight-forward and it is easy to move between the Law in its full written form, or if preferred via individual Powerpoint-like slides with a range of images and other illustrations that breakdown information into a Law’s individual sub-sections.

At the end of some, although not all, Laws the international umpires provide via short video clips their ‘top tips’ regarding that Law.  Finally each module ends with some test questions, which are provided in multiple choice format, they being designed to help participants check their understanding of the Law they have just been considering. From there a single click takes the user on to the next Law.

Once those taking the course believe they are ready they can then move on to one or both of two exams, the first titled ‘basic’ and the second ‘intermediate'.  Both contain 50 questions that must be answered within 30 minutes.  There is no pass mark for either exam and the MCC says individuals can "re-take the exams as many times as they want” should they wish to try and improve their score.   On completion of one, or both of the exams users can print a certificate of completion which shows the highest score obtained.  MCC Laws of Cricket Manager Fraser Stewart says it was felt that by allowing individuals to have multiple chances to sit the exams they will be continually learning as “the more they do it, the more they will learn".

To use the system an on-line account, which involves no cost, first has to be set up, only the user’s active e-mail address and their password being required.  After that the system automatically triggers an e-mail to the user that provides what are the straight-forward instructions needed to finalise registration and opens the way to a ‘dash board’ from where the modules are accessible.

The MCC’s Laws smartphone app has also be updated, it including an interactive quiz in which users can test their knowledge of the changes in the Laws (PTG 1826-9130, 13 May 2016).  The club’s Open Learning Manual hasn’t been updated as yet but work is underway to update its supporting materials.

Stewart led the e-learning project, others involved being MCC Laws of Cricket Advisor Jonny Singer and England and Wales Cricket Board Association of Cricket Officials representatives Les Clemenson and Bob Hampshire.  Members of the club's Laws sub-committee provided considerable input, while the International Cricket Council, national governing bodies and TV companies have assisted with the video clip production.  Leeds-based e-company ‘Dynamic', an eLearning specialist, supported project development and implementation.

‘Unfair’ Welsh club appeals disciplinary sanctions.

PTG Editor

Wednesday, 27 September 2017.

PTG 2261-11448.

In addition to having their first XI relegated from the Pembroke County Cricket League’s first to second Division for the 2018 season over their approach to a key championship match late last month (PTG 2260-11411, 27 September 2017), south-west Wales' Carew Cricket Club was handed other sanctions.  However, club secretary Nick Scourfield said on Wednesday an appeal had been launched against the Pembroke County Cricket Club’s (PCCC) decision and they were awaiting a date for another hearing.

The disciplinary panel that heard the case also instructed that Carew’s second side be relegated, in its case from Division two to three, while the club itself was fined £UK300 ($A510) by the PCCC, and their captain Brian Hall banned from playing during the 2018 northern summer, although the latter half of that censure has been ’suspended’ provided he not transgress again.  Hall was charged with a failure in his duties as a captain in ensuring the game was played within the spirit of cricket (PTG 2248-11384, 14 September 2017).  

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 2,262

Friday, 29 September 2017

 

• Pakistani umpire reaches 300th first class match mark [PTG 2262-11449].

• Aussie third-tier umpire panel members announced [PTG 2262-11450].

• CSA suddenly part ways with chief executive Lorgat [PTG 2262-11451].

• Naming of CA’s new Umpire Educator Manager awaited [PTG 2262-11452].

• Darlington Cricket Club can keep 'noisy' practice area [PTG 2262-11453].

Pakistani umpire reaches 300th first class match mark.

PTG Editor.

Friday, 29 September 2017.

PTG 2262-11449.

Pakistani umpire Riazuddin is currently standing in his 300th first class match, one of the opening games in this season’s Quaid-e-Azam Trophy in Islamabad between that city’s side and the Sui Southern Gas Corporation.  Karachi-born Riazuddin, 58, has been officiating at first class level for almost 35 years, his debut coming in December 1982 at the age of 24, and he became his country’s 25th Test umpire eight years later in what was his 33rd first class appointment.

All-up he stood in a total of 12 Tests, the last in 2002, seven in Pakistan and the other five in Bulawayo, Colombo, Durban, Sharjah and Wellington. At home he has been on-field in nine domestic first class finals.  There have also been 247 List A games to date, 12 of them One Day Internationals (ODI), and 15 finals in Pakistan’s domestic one-day series.  Add 70 Twenty20 games, Womens’ and Under-19 Tests and ODIs and his total match tally currently comes in at around 892, but reports say is more likely to be nearer 1,000 overall with club and other fixtures.  

Aussie third-tier umpire panel members announced.

PTG Editor

Friday, 29 September 2017.

PTG 2262-11450.

Two women, Deanne Young of the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) and Ashlee Kovalevs from Western Australia (WA), are amongst the 28 umpires who make up the seven ‘State Umpire Panels’ in Australia for the 2017-18 austral summer.  Cricket Australia (CA) says that during the new season those on the panels, which in total are effectively its third-tier umpire group, can be selected to stand in Womens’ National Cricket League (WNCL) 50 over format games, the Womens’ Big Bash League (WBBL), under age national championships, state second XI four-day fixtures and as fourth umpires in mens’ BBL matches.

The panelists appointed are: ACT - Dinusha Bandara, Andrew Crozier, Andrew Scotford and Young; NSW - Anthony Hobson, Ryan Nelson, Marc Nickl, Troy Penman and Glen Stubbings; Queensland - Murray Branch, Stephen Dionysius, Steven Farrell and David Taylor;  South Australia - Cain Kemp, Craig Thomas and Luke Uthenwoldt; Tasmania - Greg Beechey, Muhammad Qureshi, Wade Stewart and Harvey Wolff; Victoria - Daryl Brigham, Stephen Brne and Dale Ireland; and Western Australia - James Hewitt, Kovalevs, Jack Paterson, Trent Steenholdt and John Taylor; the latter who is understood to have played six first class and eight List A games for WA in 2003-04. 

Scotford, who stood at List A level 18 years ago, served as CA’s national umpires manager for two-and-a-half years from 2008-10, leaving to take up the Western Australia Cricket Association’s Cricket Operations Manager position in early 2010 (PTG 547-2792, 13 January 2010), before moving again two years after that to Victoria as chief executive of Basketball Geelong (PTG 919-4480, 23 March 2012).  He relocated to Canberra in 2013 and has since taken on a range of jobs, but records available suggest that unlike Bandara, Crozier and Young, he did not stand in ACT Premier cricket in 2016-17. 

Records also suggest that of the 28, Hobson, Paterson, Scotford and John Taylor are yet to stand in a WNCL game, and Bandara, Beechey, Nelson, Paterson, Scotford and John Taylor in a WBBL fixture.  All except Beechey, Paterson, Scotford, Stewart and John Taylor have been to an Under-17 mens’ national championship series this decade, and they plus Bandara, Cozier, Dionysius, Farrell, Kemp, Kovalevs, Nelson, Nickl, Qureshi, Stubbings, Wolff and Young are yet to be appointed to a mens’ Under-19 championship which is a key event on CA’s umpire pathway.  Farrell, Kovalevs  Nelson, Paterson, Scotford, John Taylor and Young are yet to stand at state second XI level.

In 2016 David Taylor was awarded an Australian Institute of Sport National Officiating Scholarship (NOS) (PTG 1775-8867, 5 March 2016).  He, Brne, Hobson and Penman joined members of CA’s second-tier umpire Development Panel at the national body’s recent inaugural High Performance workshop (PTG 2240-11338, 6 September 2017), which suggests they are currently at the top off the third-tier hierarchy, and the latter three may be in contention for a NOS in 2018.

Bandara, Branch, Dionysius, Ireland, Kovalevs, Nelson, Qureshi and Uthenwoldt are currently standing in CA’s 2017 Under-17 national championship series in Brisbane (PTG 2252-11401, 18 September 2017).  Also involved there is Sydney-based Roberto Howard who is not on the NSW state panel.

CA has named eight umpires for the opening WNCL round of seven matches next month, two each of which will be played in Canberra and Sydney and three in Adelaide.  Steenholdt, who will travel from Perth, and Thomas, are to stand in the three Adelaide games, Scotford on debut and Young those in Canberra, and Hobson, Nelson, Nickl and Stubbings all one each in Sydney.  John Biddiss, three in Adelaide, Tim Donahoo two in Sydney and Damian Herft two in Canberra, will overesee the games as match referees.  Donahoo, Biddiss and Herft are members of CA’s newly constituted second-tier Supplementary Panel of referees (PTG 2212-11188, 25 July 2017), the coming games being the latter pair's first as CA referees.

CSA suddenly part ways with chief executive Lorgat.

Tristan Holme and Luke Alfred.

Cricbuzz.

Thursday, 28 September 2017.

PTG 2262-11451.

Haroon Lorgat's tenure as Cricket South Africa's (CSA) chief executive is over, casting the organisation's preparations for its new Global Twenty20 series into further disarray. Lorgat parted ways with the organisation, handing in his laptop and mobile phone on Thursday morning after his relationship with the CSA board reached breaking point.  Pressure has been building on Lorgat in recent months with regards to his handling of the Global T20 series which is due to get underway in November. In July, questions arose over Lorgat's dealings with broadcast rights partners, the lack of transparency around franchise owners, as well as the side-lining of colleagues.

A series of acrimonious board meetings - and one hastily-convened teleconference - followed the board's July concerns, with the parties reluctantly agreeing that Lorgat remain. It is understood those issues remain relevant in Lorgat's dismissal, and CSA confirmed as much in a statement that was released after the news broke CSA president Chris Nenzani said: "We recently tried on a few occasions to remedy the situation between Mr Lorgat and the Board, but we have not been successful in finding a satisfactory resolution.  The Board unanimously felt that it was in the best interest of the organisation that we agreed to a mutual separation agreement with Mr Lorgat”.

With just five weeks until the Global T20 gets underway, CSA are yet to secure a broadcast deal in either India or South Africa, throwing the feasibility of the entire tournament into doubt. However, the issue that alarmed the board most was the mounting costs associated with getting the tournament off the ground, with Lorgat racking up a large bill on first-class travel and corporate events.  CSA's most recent annual report, which covered the year up until the end of April stated that 4.5 million Rand had been spent on the Global T20 in the year under review. That figure would not have included the costs of a glitzy tournament launch in London in June, as well as significant expenditure since then.

CSA vice-president Thabang Moroe will take over as acting CEO following Lorgat's departure. It is understood that he will be supported by Nenzani as well as independent board member Louis Von Zeuner.  Lorgat's contract was only due to come to an end in 2019 following an extension in 2015. His premature departure is expected to cost CSA millions of Rands in a potential payout, but that appears to be a hit the board was willing to take as they attempt to get the Global T20 up and running and save the governing body from further ignominy.

In the CSA statement Lorgat was quoted as saying: "I would like to thank the Board for their wholesome support during my time, especially in my early years at CSA. It is most unfortunate that we must part ways in this manner, but it is the best way forward for CSA.  It was an honour to lead the organization and I am proud of what we have achieved over the past few years to make CSA widely recognised as the best run sports federation in South Africa”.

Naming of CA’s new Umpire Educator Manager awaited.

PTG Editor.

Friday, 29 September 2017.

PTG 2262-11452.

Current Cricket Australia (CA) Umpire Education Manager (UEM) Bob Parry is to manage his first game as a match referee on Tuesday week, a CA List A match in Sydney, but as yet no announcement has been made as to just who will fill the education spot when he leaves to take up his new role.  The UEM's responsibilities range from looking after to the development of the nation’s top umpiring groups and to, “in line with its on-going commitment to supporting the grassroots game”, says CA, "focus on the delivery of world class educational and recruitment programs for community level match officials” (PTG 2235-11318, 22 August 2017).  Applications for the job closed four weeks ago this Friday.

Darlington Cricket Club can keep 'noisy' practice area.

BBC News.

Friday, 29 September 2017.

PTG 2262-11453.

Durham's Darlington Cricket Club (DCC) can keep a practice area close to newly-built homes, despite residents complaining of noise and men "dropping their trousers”.  The club installed practice nets and cages on the border of its Feethams ground and sought retrospective planning approval, but some residents of 12 new homes, built just feet away, objected (PTG 2237-11327, 26 August 2017). 

 

 

The new nets in the background as one of the neighbours sits on his patio.  

The club has been at the same ground since 1866 and plays in the North Yorkshire and South Durham Premier League.  

Darlington councillors have now said the nets can stay as long as their use is limited to certain times of the day and those involved were "properly supervised".  The council's planning committee heard complaints from residents which included "the noise of the bat striking the ball" and "the effort of batting and bowling" and the lack of privacy caused by the nets.  One letter complained about men "dropping their trousers to remove thigh pads and boxes in their underwear".

One resident, who did not want to be named, said the decision would still result in noise and have an adverse effect on the enjoyment of their home.  But a spokesman for the club said any other decision would have meant the playing surface was used for training, resulting in the ground being unable to host county matches.  The club has been at the same ground since 1866 and plays in the North Yorkshire and South Durham Premier League.  

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 2,263

Saturday, 30 September 2017

 

• Relegated Middlesex request ECB hearing over ‘crossbow’ penalty [PTG 2263-11454].

• Orders being taken for Tethered bail-stump sets [PTG 2263-11455].

• Queensland first to fall foul of new 'fake fielding’ Law [PTG 2263-11456].

• CPL takes no action over Pollard ‘no ball' [PTG 2263-11457].

• England clamp down on player behaviour [PTG 2263-11458].

Relegated Middlesex request ECB hearing over ‘crossbow’ penalty.

Elizabeth Ammon.

The Times.

Saturday, 30 September 2017.

PTG 2263-11454.

Middlesex have requested a hearing with the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) in an attempt to reverse their relegation from the County Championship’s top tier.  The county are angry at the two-point penalty they incurred for a slow over rate during their draw with Surrey at the The Oval last month. That match ended prematurely for safety reasons when a crossbow bolt was fired on to the square from outside the ground (PTG 2238-11329, 4 September 2017).  Middlesex eventually finished the season second-last on the table with 147 points, one behind Somerset and two behind both Yorkshire and Hampshire.

Middlesex were batting when the match was abandoned but say they had intended to declare and then bowl enough overs to avoid any slow over-rate penalty. They claim there was a verbal agreement between James Franklin, the captain, and Paul Baldwin, who together with Michael Gough umpired the game, that there would be no penalty imposed in relation to the over rate. It is understood, however, that the umpires’ end-of-match report contained no mention of the circumstances that led to the ECB imposing a two-point penalty, one point being deducted for each over that is behind the required rate.

Immediately after the deduction was announced five days later, Middlesex chief executive Richard Goatley said they had discussed with the ECB the unique circumstances surrounding the abandonment (PTG 2244-11361, 10 September 2017).  But he added: "We have been advised that since the ECB has chosen to follow the published playing conditions in this instance, there is no scope for any further appeal”.  A 35-year-old man was arrested following the incident but released on police bail pending further inquiries.

Middlesex now want a hearing to allow captain Franklin to give his version, something they say he was not asked to do after the umpires’ match report was submitted.  Last year’s champions are also furious about the state of the Taunton pitch this week, when their 231-run defeat by Somerset led to them being demoted by one point (PTG 2259-11437, 26 September 2017) .  But any hope of Somerset being penalised appeared to end on Friday when the ECB declared that there would be no pitch-related sanction for Somerset.

Angus Fraser, the Middlesex director of cricket, told the 'Evening Standard': “It’s disgraceful what Somerset did. I’ve never seen such a doctored pitch. The intent was there, so the combination of a below-average pitch and intent, that changes things. There are guidelines to produce the best possible pitch” (PTG 2090-10582, 30 March 2017).  Asked about the  arrow-related abandonment at The Oval, Fraser said: “The police abandoned that match and we were told, ‘Don’t worry, you won’t lose your points’, but then we found out we had. We’ve since made representations against that. I know they look like excuses, but these are reasons for our relegation, even though we haven’t played well enough”.

Orders being taken for Tethered bail-stump sets.

PTG Editor

Saturday, 30 September 2017.

PTG 2263-11455.

UK-based company ‘Augury Sports’ is taking orders for its tethered bail-stump system and expects to be in a position to commence delivery early next year.  A prototype tethered bail system made by the company was used for the first time at Lord’s in June during the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) Universities Challenge Final between the Cardiff and Loughborough campuses (PTG 2168-10997, 18 June 2017).  Such "mechanisms” are allowed under the new Laws Code as a safety measure provided they do not impinge on the normal ability of the fielding side to dislodge the bails (PTG 2102-10655, 12 April 2017).  

Augury’s system is reported to comprise two holes drilled down into the off and leg stumps, and a tiny, lightweight ball, attached to a piece of cotton (PTG 2103-10662, 13 April 2017). The ensemble rests on a platform, so that there is no weight pulling on the bail, which is then able to travel no further than eight centimetres when the stumps are put down.  The system is the brainchild of Gus Kennedy, a former wicketkeeper with both Cambridge and Oxford Universities.

The company is offering a package that contains six stumps and four bails that are expected to eventually cost around £UK120 ($A205) when purchased in sports stores in the UK. The pre-order price is though £UK100 ($A170) per set plus the cost of delivery. A normal set of stumps for a match usually costs around £UK60-70 ($A100-120).  What the arrangement is  with the Augury stumps is when, as not infrequently happens in games, a bail breaks, has not yet been made clear.  

In addition to Augury a person in South Africa, who has been described as an 'inventor', is also reported to have developed a system but no details of it are available.  The Marylebone Cricket Club, as the guardians of the game’s Laws, indicated earlier this year that it would not be approving any tethered system design that comes into the market place, rather that would be up to governing bodies or leagues.

Queensland first to fall foul of new 'fake fielding’ Law.

Dave Middleton.

CA web site.

Friday, 29 September 2017.

PTG 2263-11456.

Queensland fielder Marnus Labuschagne has become the first player to fall foul of the new Law that penalise 'fake fielding’ as a result of an incident during Cricket Australia’s (CA) one-day domestic series in  Brisbane on  Friday.  Labuschagne dived in the covers to field a ball to his right during the CA XI innings, and although he failed to stop the ball he leapt to his feet and shaped to throw.  That caused CA XI batsman Param Uppal to stutter and shape to scurry back to his crease, before he realised the ball had eluded Labuschagne and was on its way down to long-off and the single was completed safely. 

Labuschagne raised his hand to indicate an apology, but on-field umpires Paul Wilson and Damien Koch, the latter who was standing in his first List A match (PTG 2260-11445, 27 September 2017), came together to confer before Wilson signalled five penalty runs to scorers Gail Cartwright and Cliff Howard.  The rule against "intentionally deceiving or distracting a batsman” was introduced into the Laws by Marylebone Cricket Club earlier this year, regulations that came into force in Australia with the start of the CA one-day series on Thursday (PTG 2260-11442, 27 September 2017).

CPL takes no action over Pollard ‘no ball'.

PTG Editor.

Friday, 29 September 2017.

PTG 2263-11457.

The Caribbean Premier League (CPL) will not penalise Kieron Pollard for the no-ball incident that occurred at the end of the Barbados Tridents versus St Kitts and Nevis Patriots match earlier this month.  Pollard denied he deliberately bowled the no-ball that potentially cost St Kitts and Nevisbatsman Evin Lewis a rcentury in the final group match of this year’s CPL series in Barbados (PTG 2244-11364, 10 September 2017).  The CPL said in a statement issued on Thursday that “there was no ill-intent” involved in the Pollard no ball.

England clamp down on player behaviour.

Ali Martin.

The Guardian.

Saturday, 30 September 2017.

PTG 2263-11458.

England have moved to clamp down on player behaviour in the aftermath of the Ben Stokes affair with captain Joe Root and Stuart Broad among members of the Ashes squad to have pulled out of Jos Buttler’s stag do in Amsterdam this weekend after encouragement by the team management.  Stokes and Alex Hales are missing the social trip to the Netherlands as they are due in for further police questioning in the coming days. It follows the altercation in Bristol in the early hours of Monday that has led to the pair being suspended on full pay and left England in crisis (PTG 2260-11444, 27 September 2017).

But Andrew Strauss, the team director, is understood to have “lightly pushed” others heading to Australia this winter to withdraw from the weekend’s activities, such is the fear at the England and Wales Cricket Board that it could spark more negative publicity in the current climate.  England have bought themselves time to deal with Hales and Stokes, having stood the pair down from national selection indefinitely, pending the outcome of a police investigation and outsourced their internal case to the Cricket Discipline Commission, the panel of which is being led by the former Derbyshire cricketer turned lawyer Tim O’Gorman.

That decision was prompted by newspaper report that show3ed footage of the late-night incident that came after Sunday’s One Day IOnternational against West Indies in Bristol and led to Stokes’s arrest before being released under investigation. Both he and Hales say the altercation began when they came to the aid of two gay men being abused in the street.  Avon and Somerset Police are now looking into this claim and on Friday issued an updated appeal for the two witnesses in question to come forward. While Hales is next due to play for England in the one-day series against Australia in January, Stokes is facing an anxious wait to see if he will be charged given he is part of the Ashes squad that departs at the end of October.

 

 

End of September 2017 news file.