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OCTOBER 2017
THE MONTH’S HEADLINES
TOTAL OF 30 EDITIONS PUBLISHED
(Story numbers 11459-11593)


Click below to access each individual edition listed below
 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 2,264

Monday, 2 October 2017

 

• SLC temporarily lifts Panadura, Kalutara ‘manipulation' bans [PTG 2264-11459].

• South Africa first to profit from new review rule [PTG 2264-11460].

• Player threatens suicide over non-selection [PTG 2264-11461].

SLC temporarily lifts Panadura, Kalutara ‘manipulation' bans.

Madushka Balasuriya.

Cricinfo.

Monday, 2 October 2017.

PTG 2264-11459.

The bans handed out by Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) to the 22 players implicated in the Tier B match-manipulation case will be lifted, pending the result of an appeal process.  Players of Panadura Sports Club (PSC) and Kalutara Physical Culture Club were last month banned for one year from all cricketing activities for their supposed role in manipulating the result of a Tier B first-class match in January - captains Chamara Silva and Manoj Deshapriya receiving two-year bans (PTG 2252-11398, 18 September 2017). 

However, upon receiving complaints from the two clubs, SLC has commenced a formal appeals process, and temporarily climbed down from the original punishments.  The three-member appeals committee is expected to return with their final verdict in two to four weeks, until which time the players of Panadura and Kalutara are free to resume cricketing activities.

Although some players had themselves lodged formal complaints, it is the clubs who were instrumental in persuading SLC to begin an appeals process. The fallout from the initial verdict saw Silva, along with his team-mates, seek out legal representation, as well as distance themselves from PSC. Silva has claimed that he was never given an adequate opportunity, or even informed, to come speak before the original inquiry panel - something SLC contests - and has since called for a fresh inquiry into the allegations.

A lawyer, speaking on behalf of the PSC players said that while his clients would be willing to speak before an appeal committee, they would still continue to call for a fresh inquiry. Accepting an appeal committee, he said, would be akin to accepting the original verdict.  However, the exact scope of the appointed appeal committee is somewhat unclear. While a traditional appeal committee would merely be expected to review already existing evidence, this new committee is actively pursuing fresh evidence from the players of the clubs. As such, it bears resemblance to a fresh inquiry.

SLC also stated that, should they so wish, the committee could even request 'special powers' from the board to interview individuals that may be implicated in the course of the appeals process. If this turns out to be the case, it would be a significant departure from the stance of the original inquiry panel, which did not see fit to investigate any individuals apart from those who had charges laid against them - ie. the players - during the course of its seven-month investigation.  To further complicate the issue, the Sri Lankan government's sports ministry may also launch a parallel inquiry, though an official announcement is yet to be made.

South Africa first to profit from new review rule.

Agece France Presse.

Saturday, 30 September 2017.

PTG 2264-11460.

The International Cricket Council’s (ICC) new stance on narrowly unsuccessful reviews has come into play for the first time on day three of the first Test between South Africa and Bangladesh at Potchefstroom.  South Africa failed to overturn a decision but did not lose their review as brand new ICC playing conditions now see teams keep a review if the ball-tracking technology's verdict is 'Umpire's Call', used when a decision is deemed too close to overturn (PTG 2260-11442, 27 September 2017).

Fast bowler Kagiso Rabada appealed for LBW against Tamim Iqbal and after Australian umpire Bruce Oxenford turned down the appeal the South African's asked for a review, which showed the ball clipping the outside of leg stump, in the 'Umpire's Call' zone.   Previously South Africa would have lost one of their two permitted reviews but under new regulations which came into effect on Thursday, they kept the review.

The Proteas did however lose a review in Rabada’s next over when a reverse-swinging yorker struck Tamim on the boot before going off his bat for a run. Again the hosts challenged Oxenford’s not-out decision but although Tamim was struck in front of the stumps, the ball was swinging so sharply that it was shown to be missing the stumps completely.  South Africa did not ask for a review in the same over when replays showed Mominul Haque’s stumps would have been hit by yet another swinging Rabada delivery.

Under the previous rules, captains were allowed two unsuccessful reviews every 80 overs during a Test innings, but in addition to the more lenient rules on 'Umpire's Call' review, teams now do not get their review tally renewed at the 80-over mark.

Player threatens suicide over non-selection.

Press Trust Of India.

Sunday, 1 October 2017.

PTG 2264-11461.

"Fed up" with what he sees as constant selection rejections, a young player in Pakistan tried to set fire to himself during a first-class match at the Lahore City Cricket Association (LCCA) ground on Friday, accusing selectors of demanding a bribe to give him a chance.  Ghulam Haider Abbas, a right-arm fast bowler, barged into the ground and tried to pour petrol on himself.  Onlookers watching the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy match managed to stop and pacify him while others raised an alarm.

Abbas, who players in the east zone in the LCCA, said that he was fed up with false promises by officials that he would get a chance to play in first-class cricket matches for the Lahore team.  He said he had "been performing well at the club and zonal level but they keep on ignoring me because I am from a poor background.  At the end, they finally told me that if I want to play for the Lahore team I should pay them money. Today I came here totally fed up and wanted to end my life”.  

Abbas warned that if his plea is not heard by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) he would set himself on fire at the main entrance of the Gaddafi stadium near PCB headquarters.  "If I die, the east zone officials and the LCCA head should be held responsible for it because they are not selecting players on merit”, claimed Abbas.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 2,265

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

 

• South Africa players, board, divided over four-day Tests [PTG 2265-11462].

• CA appoints new Umpire Education Manager [PTG 2265-11463].

• Why the 'fake fielding' Law is relevant [PTG 2265-11464].

• Man cleared of crossbow firing, investigations continue [PTG 2265-11465].

• BCCI planning international FTP for women's cricket [PTG 2265-11466].

• PCB to offer foreign PSL players $US10,000 per ‘home’ match [PTG 2265-11467].

South Africa players, board, divided over four-day Tests.

Firdose Moonda.

Cricinfo.

Monday, 2 October 2017.

PTG 2265-11462.

South Africa's players were not properly consulted about Cricket South Africa’s (CSA) plans to pioneer four-day Tests, and are not in favour of shortening the format (PTG 2254-11407, 21 September 2017). That may not matter when South Africa host Zimbabwe for a four-day, day-night match in late December, even though the man who initially touted the idea, former CSA chief executive Haroon Lorgat, is no longer in charge (PTG 2262-11451, 29 September 2017).

Lorgat left his post last Thursday after his relationship with the CSA board had become untenable but the board will still petition the International Cricket Council (ICC) to allow them to trial the concept at the world body’s Chief Executives Conference in Auckland next week. CSA will be represented by Acting chief executive Thabang Moreo and president Chris Nenzani, who confirmed the administration's commitment to the cause. "We are an organisation and when the organisation comes up with an idea it is not the product of one person. We as an organisation decided on this”, Nenzani said.

However, that organisation did not seek the views of those who will have to make the idea a reality, the players. Lorgat held some discussions with the South African team management when Russell Domingo was still the coach, as far back as August, and was due to have a final consultation with players, which never took place.

For the South African Cricketers’ Association (SACA) that is a sticking point. Tony Irish, SACA’s chief executive, said he "expressed the same concern to CSA before Haroon left - the fact that there was no proper consultation. There are a lot of cricket aspects involved. It is quite a big change to a format. It's four days and day-night, playing against a team that has never played with a pink ball. It's the combination of four-day and day-night that concerns.  I understand why CSA want to do this. They want to provide content over a period [Boxing Day] where there is traditionally cricket. I am not sure that a four-day, day-night Test against Zimbabwe is the answer”.

After the first Test against Bangladesh in Potchefstroom, which South Africa won 84 minutes into the final morning on Monday, both captain Faf du Plessis and opening batsman Dean Elgar expressed their desire to keep Test cricket as is.  "I am a fan of five-day Test cricket. I believe the great Test matches have gone to the last hour of the last day on day five. That's what is so special about Test cricket”, du Plessis said. 

Elgar went as far as to question why Test cricket's traditional make-up is being experimented with. "I'm a five-day Test specialist, and it must stay that way in my opinion. I don't think you should tinker with something that's not broken. If you go and play around the world, Test cricket is followed quite well. If you play in Australia, if you play in England, even if you play in South Africa against the relatively big nations you still get very good crowds. There are other formats that are being experimented with. I don't see why Test cricket should suffer. I am purist when it comes to that. Hopefully the game can have longevity in the five-day format”, Elgar said (PTG 2259-11438, 26 September 2017).

Evidence supporting that theory also came on Monday in Abu Dhabi, where a thrilling final day between Pakistan and Sri Lanka brought an otherwise dreary affair to life.  Matches in the United Arab Emirates are prime cases for five-day Tests. Since 2010, when Pakistan began playing regularly there, 75 per cent of matches have gone to the fifth day. Globally, in the same period, 58 per cent of Tests, have gone to the fifth day but South Africa (43.3 per cent) and India (47.1 per cent) are two countries where less than half of Tests have needed five days.

The strong views aired by two of South Africa's senior-most players were not heard in the CSA boardroom. Acting chief executive Moroe "only found out [on Monday]" about the players' concerns through SACA at a CSA meeting. As far as Moroe understands, they have agreed to play the Zimbabwe match, as long as the match has Test status. "If ICC sanctions it, players will play”, he said.  It is widely expected the ICC will back the CSA's plan (PTG 2256-11421, 23 September 2017), but if it does not, Moroe has already begun working on a contingency plan. CSA's General Manager Corrie van Zyl and Commercial Manager Clive Eksteen have been tasked with deciding how CSA will approach matters if they draw a blank in Auckland, given that CSA have promised to provide some content over the Boxing Day period. "Our broadcasters need content. We need players to play cricket”, Moroe said.

CA appoints new Umpire Education Manager.

PTG Editor.

Monday, 2 October 2017.

PTG 2265-11463.

Cricket Australia (CA) is understood to have appointed current Cricket Victoria (CV) Umpire Manager Richard Patterson to its Umpire Education Manager position in place of Bob Parry who has joined CA’s National Referees’ Panel (PTG 2212-11188, 25 July 2017).  Patterson’s new responsibilities, which he is expected ted to take up in three weeks time, range from looking after to the development of the nation’s top umpiring groups to "the delivery of world class educational and recruitment programs for community level match officials” (PTG 2235-11318, 22 August 2017).

Patterson, 51, stood in twenty-two first class and 20 List A games in the period from 1999-2004, a time in which he worked as the third umpire in a Boxing Day Test as well as in four One Day Internationals, however, he then faded from the national scene for half-a-dozen years.  Returning to senior cricket earlier this decade, he appeared up until 2013 to be in contention for a position on CA's top domestic group the National Umpires Panel (NUP).  In August of that year though he was appointed as Victoria's State Director of Umpires (PTG 1159-5611, 1 August 2013), replacing long-serving Parry who left to take up the position Patterson himself will now occupy (PTG 1116-5426, 4 June 2013).  

During the austral winter months since 1995, he has served as an Australian Rules Football goal umpire with Victoria's Riddell District league, to date working in that capacity in close to 400 games. He is said to have experience as an umpire trainer and coach across several sports.  His professional background is in banking, having worked in management positions at two large Australian companies.   Patterson’s latest appointment will come as no surprise to most knowledgable observers who have been tipping his selection since the position was first advertised.  CA will not have any relocation expenses associated with his appointed as his current office at CV is only around 100 m along the road from the national body’s headquarters in East Melbourne. 

CV itself will now of course have to move to appoint a new Umpire Manager, former NUP member Ash Barrow appearing to be a likely contender (PTG 2159-10952, 9 June 2017).  He is currently the Umpire Coach to CV’s Premier League First Division and State Umpire Panel groups and as such will be standing with, mentoring and coaching those involved throughout the coming Premier League season in Melbourne, the first round of which gets underway on Saturday. 

Why the 'fake fielding' Law is relevant.

Nagraj Gollapudi.

Cricinfo.

Monday, 2 October 2017.

PTG 2265-11464.

Queensland's Marnus Labuschagne last week became the first player to be penalised under the "fake fielding” law (PTG 2263-11456, 30 September 2017). What exactly prompted the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), custodians of the laws, to determine mock fielding as an indiscretion? Also is distraction, deception or an obstruction easy to interpret for the on-field umpires? Fraser Stewart, MCC's Laws of Cricket manager, reveals the details around the new Law 41.5.

Why was the "fake fielding" law introduced?  Stewart: The reason for the introduction of this law was that fielders were deliberately pretending to have the ball as a means of fooling the batsmen, thereby preventing them from taking further runs. The batsmen would see a slide and a feigned throw and would decline, for example, a second run. By the time they realised the ball had not been thrown, it would then be too late to take the second run. This was felt to be unfair. It was becoming an increasingly used practice at various levels of the game. It formed one of the questions in MCC's global consultation and the response was overwhelmingly in favour of introducing a law to ban the practice.

So Labuschagne was clearly guilty of Law 41.5?  Stewart: Fielders may not try to deceive either batsman. The fielder here [Labuschagne] has tried to deceive the batsmen, attempting to convince them that there is no chance of a run. It is clear to see how the feigned throw stops them temporarily. The umpires are completely correct to award five penalty runs under Law 41.5. The batsmen can also choose who is to face the next ball, and the ball should not count as one for the over.

If Labuschagne had not mocked the throw, would he still have been penalised?  Stewart: If the fielder had just dived, it would not have been a breach of the law. He made a genuine attempt to stop the ball by diving. He just missed it but had done nothing wrong with that part. Where he erred was when he did the fake throw. This quite clearly led the batsmen to believe that he had indeed stopped the ball.  In other circumstances, if the slide takes place when the fielder isn't close to the ball and it wasn't a genuine attempt to stop it, the umpires will have to decide if they considered the slide to have been an attempt to deceive the batsman. Context is everything and it's hard to give a ruling without seeing each case.

But how advisable is it to have a law that is so open to interpretation and subjectivity. Take this example. Would Kumar Sangakkara have been guilty of this new law?  Stewart: The Sangakkara example is less clear-cut. Technically, he is deliberately attempting to deceive the batsman, but I'm not sure what advantage he is gaining - not that the gaining of an advantage needs to be proved. It seems to be done more out of jest than out of an attempt to cause confusion and prevent a run being scored. Under the letter of the Law, one could not argue with the penalty being imposed. Equally, however, an umpire might choose to handle it by having a quiet word and informing him of the new law. As with any law like this, it is always going to be for the umpires to decide what is "deliberate" and what is "deception".

There are wicketkeepers who collect the ball down the leg side, turn around pretending they have missed the ball, and run a batsman out after he sets off for a single. Does that count as deception?   Stewart: If a wicketkeeper is deliberately trying to make it look like he has missed the ball when he has it in his hands for a stumping, it is an attempt to deceive the batsman and would fall foul of the law. It is for the umpires on the field to decide if it is deception or not as per Law 41.5.2.

While collecting throws, the Indian wicketkeeper MS Dhoni, for example, pretends like there is nothing happening to lull the running batsman into a false sense of security before whipping the bails off quickly when the throw comes in. Is that a foul act, too?   Stewart: If Dhoni is deliberately trying to make it look like he has missed the ball when he has it in his hands for a stumping, it is an attempt to deceive the batsman and would fall foul of the law. However, transferring it onto the stumps in a subtle way after receiving the ball would be acceptable. It is for the umpires on the field to decide if it is deception or not.

How about a fielder in the deep, chasing after a ball and sliding when the boundary rider is actually going to pick the ball up and throw. Would that be the violation?  Stewart: As for the fielder sliding - that would depend on context - is he/she trying to convince the batsmen that the ball is closer to being thrown in than it actually is? If so, it is deception. Is he/she is simply getting out of the way so their team-mate has a clear throw? If so, it is not deception. How close to the ball was he when he made the slide, and was there any feigned throw? These are the matters that the umpire should consider.

Man cleared of crossbow firing, investigations continue.

PTG Editor.

Tuesday, 3 October 2017.

PTG 2265-11465.

Police say there’ll be no further action taken against a man who was arrested in relation to a crossbow bolt that was fired into The Oval in London whilst Surrey and Middlesex were playing a first class fixture in late August.  The bolt landed close to the pitch but no one was hit, however, the players left the field and stadium was evacuate while officers investigated, the match later being abandoned (PTG 2238-11329, 4 September 2017). 

The  35-year-old returned on bail in late September but was then released with no further action and there have been no further arrests over the matter.  However, officers from Lambeth CID are still investigating the incident and have asked that anyone with information to contact police.

Middlesex have requested a hearing with the England and Wales Cricket Board 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 the crossbow match, claiming they would have caught up on the rate had the game been allowed to continue (PTG 2263-11454, 30 September 2017).

BCCI planning international FTP for women's cricket.

Press Trust of India.

Monday, 2 October 2017.

PTG 2265-11466.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is planning an international Future Tours Program (FTP) for its women cricketers, “like the mens’ team”, according to Ratnakar Shetty, the BCCI's General Manager.  Sherry told the Sports Journalists' Federation of India’s meeting in Thiruvananthapuram: "Don't go by the quantity of matches but go by the fact that we will be playing better teams in the next two years and our girls will get a chance to compete at that level”.

Women's cricket came under BCCI in 2006 and the last 11 years has seen a lot of progress in terms of facilities that are available for girls at the state level and national level, claimed Shetty.  He also made it clear the focus will be on the shorter formats, and not Test cricket. India last played a womens’ Test in 2014 against South Africa.

"There is a common question that there are not enough matches for women. What is important to understand is that, and this was at the International Cricket Council [ICC] forum I attended, countries like England and Australia are not keen on [womens’] Test matches”, continued Shetty. "Every country and the ICC is first interested in creating a base for women's cricket for promotion of the game in all the nations which play cricket. Therefore the focus is only on limited overs cricket, the One Day Internationals and Twenty20 Internationals".

"In the [Womens’] World Cup in England recently, the girls played some outstanding cricket and suddenly there was a lot of enthusiasm among the journalist fraternity which was not seen earlier. And because of the matches being shown on television, girls like Mithali (Raj) became a household name, and someone like Harmanpreet (Kaur) is equivalent to a men's cricketer and that gives us great joy”.

Shetty, who has responsibility for the Indian women's game, said the structure of the game there has been altered with the board including a new tournament in the Under-16 category for the upcoming season.  "We have restructured the women's cricket at the junior level and we will have an U-16 tournament at the zonal level because I can tell you from my experience that it is not easy to get 15 players in every state association.  We already have a U-19 tournament and we have U-23 where they play one-day games and this year onwards they will play T20.  We have a senior women's tournament where we have one-day games, three-day games and T20s. The U-19 girls also play two day games, so this is the structure we have decided for women's cricket under BCCI”,

PCB to offer foreign PSL players $US10,000 per ‘home’ match.

Abdul Ghaffar.

Dawn.

Monday, 2 October 2017.

PTG 2265-11467.

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has decided to offer $US10,000 ($A12,775 , £UK7,530) per match to each foreigner who plays Pakistan Super League (PSL) matches in Pakistan early next year.  The incentive, which would be payed separately from all other PSL earnings, is aimed at attracting overseas players to take part in “at least six to eight" PSL matches being held in the country. 

Pakistan has not hosted top-level international cricket — barring five limited over matches against minnows Zimbabwe in 2015 — since the Sri Lankan team bus was attacked by terrorists in March 2009 (PTG 380-2021, 4 March 20090. Since then Pakistan have been forced to play most of their “home” games in the United Arab Emirates, the PCB indicating they have incurred losses of around $US120 m ($A153 m, £UK90.4 m) as a result. 

Last month, in a first since the attack, Pakistan successfully hosted the World XI squad comprising foreign players in the Independence Cup 2017.  In March, Pakistan successfully hosted the 2017 PSL final in Lahore with English players Dawid Malan and Chris Jordan, West Indies' Darren Sammy and Marlon Samuels and South Africa's Morne van Wyk and Zimbabwe's Sean Ervine competing.  Sri Lanka Cricket officials have said that their team will play one Twenty20 International in Lahore this month subject to security clearance closer to the event (PTG 2240-11339, 6 September 2017).

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 2,266

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

 

• MCC-ECB exploring mesh netting covering to end rain delays [PTG 2266-11468].

• Umpire hospitalised following chest pains [PTG 2266-11469].

• First class debuts for Pakistani umpires, referee [PTG 2266-11470].

• Keeper talks of the road back from a harrowing concussion [PTG 2266-11471].

MCC-ECB exploring mesh netting covering to end rain delays.

Nick Hoult.

London Daily Telegraph.

Wednesday, 4 October 2017.

PTG 2266-11468.

Rain stopped play could finally be a thing of the past in England and Wales for tests are being conducted on new technology that could see mesh netting placed over cricket grounds to allow play to continue if it rains.  The testing is at a very early stage but has already attracted the interest of the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) which in turn has spoken to the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) to help partner any research into the project.

A company in the United States approached the ECB recently with a proposal to help solve the problem of rain at sporting events. A very fine, transparent mesh would be held up by wires suspended from floodlights with a hot air balloon in the centre to lift it up and create a tent like effect.  “We would look at any new technology and ways to get games on and more people playing cricket”, said an ECB spokesman.

There are still some serious issues to solve such as what to do with the run-off water and safety in high wind and the technology is believed to be at least two years away from becoming a reality. If testing is successful it could prevent rain washing out play, a particular problem in England and one that could seriously undermine the new Twenty20 tournament in 2020.  

“There is some interesting technology around trying to create protection from rain and keep the game on in wet weather”, said Guy Lavender, the MCC’s new chief executive. “It is an enormous issue for cricket. When you think about the impact of the weather on cricket in the UK we have a part to play, as a leading club in the game, in thinking about how those new technologies develop and are tested.  This is part of the conversation we are having with Tom Harrison [ECB chief executive]. How can we help? What would you like us to get involved in? The good thing about the MCC is we have the ability to make choices about where we seek to invest and influence”.

There were 16 matches in this year’s ECB domestic T20 series wiped out by rain with Glamorgan suffering the most losing four fixtures to the wet weather. The number was in keeping with recent seasons. The recently ended northern summer in England included a damp August, which is the month when the new Twenty20 competition is scheduled to be played, and the thought of losing most of that to the weather is part of the reason behind looking into protective covering.

One of the options has nets suspended from floodlights and another tethered under balloons with drones. MCC was at the forefront of developing the pink ball and funding more research for new cricket technologies is part of Lavender’s strategy.  He also revealed the club is looking into developing drop-in pitches that could be used at Lord’s to help ease the pressure on the playing surface, which can become tired and worn due to the sheer volume of cricket played each summer.

Drop-in pitches have been developed on the Lord’s Nursery Ground for several years but never seriously looked at as an option for use on the main playing arena. But research will be commissioned to investigate how they can be transferred to the main ground to make Lord’s the first venue in the UK to use drop-in pitches for first-class cricket.  “I do see a time when they will be used at Lord’s”, said Lavender. “It is an easy thing to say and the more you look into the technology the more significantly the challenges increase but we have three drop-in pitches on the Nursery Ground and we are starting to think about lifting them out. It is not to knock Mick Hunt [MCC groundsman]. It is the schedule. It is unrelenting so a real focus is needed on technology and drop in wickets being a core part of what we do”.

Umpire hospitalised following chest pains.

Press Trust of India.

Tuesday, 3 October 2017.

PTG 2266-11469.

English umpire Richard Illingworth, a member of the International Cricket Council’s Elite Umpires Panel, was admitted to hospital in Nagpur on Monday as a result of chest pain.  The hospital’s director of operations told journalists that two doctors, including a cardiologist, are attending him and his condition is stable.  Illingworth, 54, was the third umpire in the fifth and final One Day International between India and Australia on Monday (PTG 2243-11358, 9 September 2017).  Reports suggest he went to hospital after the match ended.

First class debuts for Pakistani umpires, referee.

PTG Editor.

Tuesday, 3 October 2017.

PTG 2266-11470.

Pakistan gave first class debuts to two umpires and a match referee during the opening round of its 2017-18 Quaid-e-Azam Trophy first class series last week.  Umpires Sultan Mahmood and Tariq Rasheed, neither of whom played at first class level, stood in their first such games, while Tanvir Afzal managed his first match as a referee.   Afzal, 54, played 66 first class and 43 List A games for Faisalabad and the State Bank of Pakistan in the period from 1983-99.

Keeper talks of the road back from a harrowing concussion.

Daniel Cherny.

Fairfax Media.

Tuesday, 3 October 2017.

PTG 2266-11471.

Cricket was an irrelevance. Sam Harper couldn't sleep. He couldn't walk. He could barely talk. All taken away.  The wicketkeeper remembers very little about the day it occurred. A bit about the morning, but nothing after the incident.

It took the diminutive gloveman more than a week to take a look at what had happened. It was day two of a Sheffield Shield game at Adelaide Oval in February, and South Australian batsman Jake Lehmann looked to whip a ball through the leg side from spinner Jon Holland, inadvertently striking Harper's head with his bat. Harper was wearing a helmet, but was down for the count (PTG 2046-10367, 12 February 2017).

It was a moment that altered the next two months of the 20-year-old's life. He spent three weeks in an Adelaide hospital (PTG 2059-10424, 25 February 2017). One teammate who visited him in hospital described the scene as “scary”, with Harper – looking white – "just lying in the bed with drips and tubes in him”.  Harper's description of the experience is equally disturbing. "I can remember not sleeping, getting woken up every half an hour in pain”, he said.  "Pain shooting straight through your eyes, straight through the back of your head. Just could not even get close to feeling well in the back of the head. That translated down through your body, because you just lost all motion and sense through your body”.

Harper's father Bryan, a teacher, ventured to Adelaide to be with his son, having been told by his school's principal, the father of Sam's girlfriend, to take as much leave as he needed.  "There was a couple of weeks there where there was a nurse sitting there 24-7 right through the night”, Sam said.  "For the initial two weeks, the pain in my head, the chances of going to sleep were impossible. Probably in that time, the actual game of cricket became pretty irrelevant. You just take for granted how you enjoy health every day”.

Eventually Bryan encouraged his son to watch what had happened. "That was a probably a big thing for dad. I'd been in hospital for a week or two, and things were starting to get a little bit more positive, and dad said 'probably a good thing if you actually watch the footage, watch it and see what happens, see what everyone's talking about'.  It was actually a little bit confronting to watch at first but I was pretty happy to watch it and move on”.

Back in Melbourne, Harper turned his attention to recovery. He visited a hospital clinic for eight weeks, practising mental and physical exercises. There were throwdowns with former Victorian coach Greg Shipperd, and trips to the park, painful at first as he readjusted to light.  "I knew that when I went outside I was going to feel crap, but the more I did it, the more I exposed my brain to it, the more I told myself, 'This is normal' then eventually became what I was used to again”.

He always had faith that he would come good, having been told that by doctors. "But it's one thing to hear it. But when you're experiencing not walking and talking properly, you can hear whatever you want, but unless you actually get back walking and talking .., 99.9 per cent of me believed that, but there's always that little one per cent that's going, what happens if this actually doesn't get any better?"

Sam got back though. He's playing for Victoria in Cricket Australia’s current one-day series, and having missed his side’s Sheffield Shield win March is keen to get his hands on some silverware.  He can't speak highly enough of the support of both Cricket Victoria and the South Australian Cricket Association. Last month he caught up with Lehmann, which in Harper's mind put an end to an unfortunate chapter .

He won't be changing his game either. "I made sure before pre-season started I got in the machines and faced bouncers, I pretty much just eradicated that within the first couple of weeks”, he said.  "To be honest, because it was such a freak accident, I wasn't really going to change the way I was going to bat, and it wasn't going to change the way I was going to keep”.

But there are changes he is happy with – the introduction of concussion substitutes and the decision to allow replacement fielders to keep (PTG 2233-11310, 20 August 2017). It is especially pertinent given the controversy which followed Harper's injury, when South Australia denied Victoria's request for Harper to be replaced. The match's first-class status would have been in doubt had that occurred.

Harper had been concussed before, and like close friend and fellow Victorian Will Pucovski, also a victim of concussion (PTG 2094-10603, 3 August 2017), is more susceptible to another incident.  But that's not enough to turn him away from the game. "Cricket's my dream”, Harper said. "Cricket's always been what I want to do. If I get injured playing what I love and doing my passion, I'm not fussed”.

 

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 2,267

 Thursday, 5 October 2017

 

• ICC quadruples size of second-tier referees group [PTG 2267-11472].

• Few changes to IUP for year ahead [PTG 2267-11473].

• Cross departs ICC Development Panel [PTG 2267-11474].

• Appointments for CA U-17 series finals matches announced [PTG 2267-11475].

• MCC throws support behind retention of five-day Tests [PTG 2267-11476].

• ECB bans player for 12 months over drug test [PTG 2267-11477].

ICC quadruples size of second-tier referees group.

PTG Editor

Thursday, 5 October 2017.

PTG 2267-11472.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) has significantly expanded its second-tier match referees panel from 6 to 26 and changed its title, what was called the Regional Referees Panel (RRR) now being known as the International Match Referees’ Panel (IMRP), a similar title to the ICC’s second-tier umpiring group the International Umpires Panel (PTG 226711473 below).  Members of the IMRP come from all 12 ICC Full Members, including Afghanistan and Ireland the two newest such entities, England and South Africa each providing three panel members and all the others each two, although five positions are currently listed as ’to be confirmed’ (TBC).  

The ICC says that the panel has been expanded in order to better deal with the amount of international cricket being played, particularly in the womens and regional events area where those selected are expected to be primarily involved.  Approval to expand the group is likely to have come during the ICC’s annual meeting week three months ago, however, that gathering rejected what well informed sources suggested earlier this year was a push to expand membership of its top Elite Umpires Panel from 12 to 14, the rationale for that also being the increased number of international fixtures being played.  An ICC spokesman says that the IMRP positions currently labelled TBC will be announced in due course.    

Afghanistan’s two spots are both labelled TBC, Australia’s are current RRR member Steve Bernard plus Bob Stratford, Bangladesh has Akhtar Ahmad and Ruhul Neeyamur Rashid Rahul, England another RRR member David Jukes and two other spots listed as TBC, India has Manu Nayar and Chinmaya Sharma, Ireland David Cooke and Kevin Gallagher, New Zealand Gary Baxter and Ross Dykes, Pakistan Mohammad Anees and Muhammed Javid Malik, South Africa another RRR member Devdas Govindjee member plus Gerrie Pienaar and Shaid Wadvalla, Sri Lanka RRR member Graeme La Brooy and Wendell La Brooy, the West Indies Denovan Hayles and Reon King, and Zimbabwe Emmanuel Dube and a TBC.

Of those named to date, Bernard, Dube, Dykes, Govindjee, King, both La Brooys (who are brothers), Nayar, Rashid, Sharma and Wadvalla, all played the game at first class level, Graeme La Brooy and King also in Tests, while Baxter, Pienaar and Stratford are former first class umpires.  According to reports available, all except Cooke and Gallagher, who are both long-serving umpires in Ireland, have worked for sometime as match referees, mostly at national competition level. 

Few changes to IUP for year ahead

PTG Editor

Thursday, 5 October 2017.

PTG 2267-11473.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) has made changes to the Australian, New Zealand and Sri Lanka listings on its second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP) for the 2017-18 year, while those for Bangladesh, England, India, Pakistan, South Africa, the West Indies and Zimbabwe remain unchanged.  Australia’s IUP membership is different from last year as a result of the retirement of Mick Martell (PTG 2234-11314, 21 August 2017), while the changes for the New Zealand and Sri Lankan listings are more subtle and suggest, given the way the ICC consistently presents such data, a change in the IUP hierarchy or ratings within each of those countries.  

The ICC says the IUP is now made up of: Australia - Simon Fry, Paul Wilson (on-field), Sam Nogajski (TV); Bangladesh - Sharfuddoula Ibne Shahid, Anisur Rahman (on-field), Masudur Rahman Mukul (TV); England - Michael Gough, Rob Bailey (on-field), Tim Robinson (TV); India - Chettihody Shamshuddin, Anil Chaudhary (on-field), C. Nandan, Nitin Menon (both TV);  New Zealand - Chris Brown, Wayne Knights (on-field), Shaun Haig (TV); Pakistan - Ahsan Raza, Shozab Raza (on-field), Ahmad Shahab (TV); South Africa - Shaun George, Adrian Holdstock (on-field), Patrick Bongani Jele (TV); Sri Lanka - Ruchira Palliyaguruge, Ranmore Martinez (on-field), Ravindra Wimalasiri (TV); West Indies - Joel Wilson, Gregory Brathwaite (on-field), Nigel Duguid, Leslie Reifer (both TV); and Zimbabwe - Russell Tiffin, Jeremiah Matibiri (on-field), Langton Rusere (TV).

Australia has, according to the IUP list provided by the ICC, three not four IUP members this year, Fry being joined, as expected, in the on-field spots by Wilson, Nogajski remaining in a third umpire spot, however, there is mention of CA nominee Gerard Abood.  Clarification has been sought from the ICC about his non-listing.  The New Zealand grouping shows Brown and Knights in the on-field positions, a reversal from last year that suggests Brown has leap-frogged his colleague rating-wise, a similar change occurring in Sri Lanka where Palliyaguruge is this year placed ahead of Martinez.  

Unlike the ICC’s revamped second-tier match referees’ panel (PTG 2267-11472 above), umpires from new ICC Full Member countries Afghanistan and Ireland have not been added to the IUP this year,

Of the 32 umpires named, Fry, Gough and Joel Wilson have all stood in Test matches, and worked as neutral umpires in One Day International series involving Full Member entities.  They make up the ICC’s emerging umpire group and are potential candidates for the world body’s top Elite Umpires Panel should anyone leave it next year.  Appointments over the last year suggest Palliyaguruge and Shamshuddin may have also moved into the ‘emerging’ category, or at least be on its fringes, however, the ICC has never formally announced precisely who actually makes up that group.

All-up, 18 of the 32 played first class cricket before turning to umpiring, Bailey, Robinson and Wilson also playing at Test level.  Tiffin has been standing at first class level for 27 years and to date has stood in 134 such games (27/134), then comes Martinez 18/137, Nandan 18/63, Chaudhary 18/61, Robinson 16/150, Bailey 15/155, Shahab 15/113, Fry 15/88, George 13/85, Matibiri 13/55, Gough 11/125, Ahsan Raza 11/88, Holdstock 11/83, Rahman 11/58, Sharfuddoula 11/45, Wimalasiri 10/75, Masudur Rahman 9/56, Shozab Raza 9/56, Knights 9/53, Joel Wilson 9/45, Jele 8/70, Rusere 8/62, Paul Wilson 8/49, Palliyaguruge 8/34, Brathwaite 7/50, Duguid 7/45, Nogajski 6/34, Shamshuddin 5/32, Reifer 5/25, Brown 5/22, and Haig 2/5     

This year’s IUP members range in age from 28 to 58, Robinson and Tiffin being the oldest at the latter age then comes Nandan 54, Bailey 53, Chaudhary and Shozab Raza 52, Fry 51, Martinez and Joel Wilson 50, George and Palliyaguruge 49, Brathwaite, Shahab and Wimalasiri 48, Duguid, Holdstock, Knights and Shamshuddin all 47, Matibiri and Rahman 46, Paul Wilson 45, Brown 44, Ahsan Raza 43, Masudur Rahman 41, Sharfuddoula 40, Nogajski 38, Gough 37, Haig 35, Menon 33, Rusere 32, Jele 31, and Reifer 28.

Cross departs ICC Development Panel.

PTG Editor

Thursday, 5 October 2017.

PTG 2267-11474.

The International Cricket Council has named a a 33 person third-tier umpire Development Panel for the 2017-18, the only change being the departure of New Zealand umpire Kathy Cross.  Twenty-five members of the panel come from 14 second-tier ICC Member entities, and the other eight from Full Members Afghanistan, Australia, England, Ireland and the West Indies. 

Those appointed this year are: Ahmad Shah Durrani and Ahmad Shah Pakteen (both Afghanistan); Claire Polosak (Australia); Ravi Angara (Botswana); Sue Redfern (England); Clive Howard, Tabarak Dar and Ian Thomson (Hong Kong); Alan Neil, Roland Black and Mark Hawthorne (Ireland); Heath Kearns (Jersey); Rockie D’Mello, David Odhiambo and Isaac Oyieko (Kenya); Kalidas Viswanadan (Malaysia); Andrew Louw and Claude Thornburn (Namibia); Buddhi Pradhan, Vinay Kumar Jha and Durga Nath Subedi (both Nepal); Huub Jansen and Pim van Liemt (Netherlands); Alu Kapa and Lakani Oala (Papua New Guinea); Alex Dowdalls, Allan Haggo and Ian Ramage (Scotland); Sarika Prasad (Singapore); Iftikhar Ali and Akbar Ali Khan (United Arab Emirates); Sameer Bandekar (United States); and Jacqueline Williams (West Indies).

Cross, 60, who became the first women appointed to what is now known as the Development Panel close to four years ago (PTG 1280-6164, 31 January 2014).  No reason has been given by the ICC for her departure.

Appointments for CA U-17 series finals matches announced.

PTG Editor

Thursday, 5 October 2017.

PTG 2267-11475

Ryan Nelson from New South Wales and Muhammad Qureshi from Tasmania are to stand in the main final of this year’s Cricket Australia male Under-17 championship series in Brisbane on Thursday, appointments that suggest they rated well performance-wise over the ten-day long event.  

The game for third-fourth place will be looked after by Dinusha Bandara of the Australian Capital Territory and Stephen Dionysius of Queensland, while the latter’s state colleague Murray Branch and Luke Uthenwoldt of South Australia will be on-field for the match to decide fifth place.  Roberto Howard of NSW and CA National Umpire Panel member John Ward are to stand in the game to decide seventh spot and Dale Ireland of Victoria and Ashlee Kovaleks from Western Australia the remaining fixture.

CA umpire selector Steve Davis, new National Panel Match Referees Panel member Bob Parry, and second-tier Supplementary Panel of Referees Neil Findlay, Ian Thomas and Kent Hannam, will oversee each of the five games respectively.

MCC throws support behind retention of five-day Tests.

Nick Hoult.

London Daily Telegraph.

Wednesday, 4 October 2017.

PTG 2267-11476.

The Marylebone cricket Club (MCC) has thrown its support behind five-day Tests as it enters the debate over the future of the longest form of the game.  Test cricket will be relaunched in 2020 with a World Championship and the first four-day Test of the current era is expected to take place in December this year when South Africa play Zimbabwe. The England and Wales Cricket Board was reported recently as indicating it will support rolling out four-day Tests across the game when it is discussed at the next International Cricket Council meeting later this month (PTG 2257-11430, 24 September 2017), although officially it insists its position is neutral on the issue (PTG 2258-11435, 25 September 2017).

Guy Lavender, the MCC’s new chief executive, has confirmed MCC will support the retention of five day Tests. Lord’s will be bidding to host two Test matches per year when the ECB invites ground to tender in November for their next allocation of major matches.  He said: “The MCC’s view is that five day Tests from a cricketing perspective make sensed. There is another perspective around four- day Tests from a customer experience perspective and looking at the difficulties of fitting in the tours program and a congested international fixture list with emergence of domestic Twenty20 tournaments. The net impact is if you reduce from five to four the jigsaw becomes much easier to fit together. It is a debate that is going to run but from our perspective five days Tests is what we would like to see continue”.

The English Test summer is set to reduce from seven matches to six in 2020 (five in Ashes years) and hosting two at Lord’s will squeeze other grounds out of the picture but Lavender insists the home of cricket deserves to retain its special status.  “Our objectives are straightforward. We are very convinced we can create a compelling case for having two Test matches, a One Day International, and new Twenty20 teams for both men and women here at Lord’s. That is not because we are the home of cricket but it is because we can deliver a number of things better than any other ground in the country".

“We have the ability to attract audiences from any nation, for any part of the season. The track record at Lord’s is second to none. We have delivered the best customer experience for people coming to matches consistently for the past four years. It is where visiting teams want to play and we generate significant revenues that come back into the game. Regardless of the broadcast deal, the ability to finance the game is vital”.

ECB bans player for 12 months over drug test.

Dave Fraser.

London Sun

Wednesday, 4 October 2017.

PTG 2267-11477.

Durham batsman Jack Burnham has been banned by the England and Wales Cricket Boards (ECB) after failing a drugs test, the substance involved being reported as cocaine. Burnham, who has scored 1,018 runs in 26 first-class matches for Durham, will be out for the next year - with the county saying they will give him the support needed. It said in a statement: "The 20-year-old provided a hair sample to testers in early September and tested positive to a recreational drug".

Burnham himself said: "I'm bitterly disappointed in my actions, I've let my team, members and supporters down.  I will work exceptionally hard to retain my fitness and carry out the rehabilitation procedures that have been put in place”.  The Professional Cricketers' Association said, also via a statement: "We will continue to work closely with Durham and the ECB to support Jack. There is an illicit drugs policy in place and we are very much part of that policy”.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 2,268

Friday, 6 October 2017

 

• ICC adds Afghan, Irish umpires to IUP [PTG 2268-11478].

• Hospitalised Illingworth set for return home [PTG 2268-11479].

• NSW bowler reprimanded for showing dissent [PTG 2268-11480].

• ‘Unfair’ Welsh club decides against sanctions appeal [PTG 2268-11481].

• TCS-MyCricket scoring program link reported near [PTG 2268-11482].

• Cricket clubhouse again completely destroyed in arson attack [PTG 2268-11483].

ICC adds Afghan, Irish umpires to IUP.

PTG Editor

Thursday, 5 October 2017.

PTG 2268-11478.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) has revised the list of members of its second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP) for 2017-18 it released on Wednesday to include umpires from Afghanistan and Ireland for the first time.  In another correction the ICC indicated Kathy Cross of New Zealand is to remain on its third-tier umpire Development Panel, and a spokesman also stated Australian umpire Gerard Abood’s name is missing from the IUP list at the moment because it is “yet to receive” his nomination from Cricket Australia (CA) (PTG 2267-11473, 5 October 2017).  

The revised version of the IUP members’ list includes Afghani umpires Ahmad Shah Pakteen, 40, and Ahmad Shah Durrani, 42, in on-field positions, but there is no third or television umpire member from that country mentioned at this time.  Ireland’s umpires on the panel are on-field officials Mark Hawthorne, 55, and Roland Black, 46, plus Alan Neil, 61, in the third/TV umpire spot.  All except Durrani have stood in first class games, most of them being between second-tier ICC nations in the Intercontinental Cup, Hawthorne’s tally being eight, Neil’s four, Pakteen three and Black two.  All five have been on-field in One Day Internationals, a few of their games involving one team from a ICC Full Member. 

On Wednesday when panel details were first released, those five were included, as they have been in recent years, on the ICC’s third-tier umpire Development Panel (DP) (PTG 2267-11474, 5 October 2017), but in line with both nations now being ICC Full Members (PTG 2174-11023, 23 June 2017), they have now been elevated to the second-tier group.  The same approach was used in the ICC’s much expanded International Match Referees’ Panel (PTG 2267-11472, 5 October 2017).  

CA indicated six weeks ago that it planned to nominate Abood for an IUP third umpire spot and that "once accredited” he will be eligible for appointment to International fixtures such as men’s Test matches as a fourth umpire, on-field appointments to One Day Internationals, and on-field and television umpire positions in Twenty20 Internationals.  Abood comes to the IUP as a result of the retirement of former member Mick Martell whose potential departure had been on CA’s plate for some 4-5 months.  Presumably  the New South Welshman will be formally inducted on to the IUP before Australia’s first mens’ home international of the coming austral summer six weeks from today.  

As a result of the elevation of the Afghanis and Irishmen, plus Cross’ now inclusion, the DP group for 2017-18 now consists of 29 members, they coming from 18 ICC members, 14 being from second-tier ranks and four from Full Members.  The IUP has 37 members, 13 of them being in television umpire spots.  All-up the ICC now has a total of 33 referees and 78 umpires, 111 individuals who come from 27 of its member boards, on its five senior international match official’s panels. 

Hospitalised Illingworth set for return home.

PTG Editor

Thursday, 5 October 2017.

PTG 2268-11479.

English umpire Richard Illingworth, a member of the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) Elite Umpires Panel, was admitted to hospital in Nagpur on Monday as a result of Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT), in which a blood clot forms in the veins of the leg, and not as claimed by an Indian media report because of "chest pain” (PTG 2266-11469, 4 October 2017).  The ICC confirmed that Illingworth, 54, was hospitalised, but a spokesman said on Thursday “he is absolutely fine now and likely to return to the UK on Friday”.  The Englishman has just spent three weeks in India as part of the match officials group that managed that country’s One Day International series against Australia (PTG 2243-11358, 9 September 2017).  Whether his condition resulted from his umpiring-related work is not known.

NSW bowler reprimanded for showing dissent.

PTG Editor

Thursday, 5 October 2017.

PTG 2268-11480.

New South Wales pace bowler Gurinder Sandhu has been reprimanded after showing dissent at an umpire's decision during a Cricket Australia one-day domestic match played last Friday.  In a match against Western Australia in Perth, Sandhu was run out for a duck, a decision he dissented from and later was charged with a Level One offence as a result.  Match referee David Talalla considered the report provided by umpires Greg Davidson and Phil Gillespie and the proposed sanction was a reprimand. Sandhu accepted it and no hearing was required.

‘Unfair Welsh club decides against sanctions appeal.

PTG Editor

Thursday, 5 October 2017.

PTG 2268-11481.

The Pembroke County Cricket League’s Division One champions Carew will start the 2018 season in Division Two after deciding not to appeal against sanctions imposed on them by the Pembroke County Cricket Club (PCCC) last week.  The club  were charged with bringing the game into disrepute over their approach to a key championship match played in late August, when they declare their innings closed after just two-and-a-half overs in order to deny their opponents the chance to win the Division One title (PTG 2248-11384, 14 September 2017).

PCCC president Nick Evans said earlier this week the club had received written confirmation of the sanctions, and then had a four day period in which both they and the team’s captain could execute their right to appeal.  That period has now expired and it is understood no appeals were submitted, meaning the punishments imposed, relegation, fine and a suspension for the Carew captain, will stand.  As a result, previously relegated Kilgetty will retain their Division One status, the Carew second XI automatically having to drop down from Division Two to Division Three, while Division Two’s 2017 bottom dwellers Whitland were spared relegation to Division Three.

TCS-MyCricket scoring program link reported near.

PTG Editor

Thursday, 5 October 2017.

PTG 2268-11482.

Cricket Australia (CA) is understood to be in the final stages of testing a program up-grade that will enable the Total Cricket Scorer (TCS) computer scoring system used around the country to ‘talk’ directly with the national body's well regarded ‘MyCricket’ club support web site.  Over the last few years clubs around Australia have been able to record score sheets for matches on ‘MyCricket’, but only after a game had been completed when all TCS recorded match data had to be transferred manually on to the ‘MyCricket site.  

New Zealand-based ‘CricHQ’, which now owns TCS, is believed to have developed Version 10 of the program which includes features that enable the TCS-MyCricket link, reports suggesting it could be available for trial as early as the coming weekend.  Hopes are that once it is operational it will save club scorers considerable time.   

Four years ago CA, in conjunction with by Melbourne company Prowess Sports, tried with limited success to develop from scratch its own MyCricket-linked computer scoring system which it called ’Statsmaster’, an effort that was said to be part of what was described at the time as a ‘national scorer initiative’ (PTG 1126-5470, 20 June 2013).  No news of that initiative has surfaced publicly since and development of ’Statsmaster’ was dropped when it was not able to appropriately meet operational requirements.

Cricket clubhouse again completely destroyed in arson attack.

Colleen Smith.

Devon News.

Thursday, 5 October 2017.

PTG 2268-11483.

Devon's Westleigh Cricket Club’s pavilion has been completely destroyed by fire in what was the third attack by vandals and arsonists in recent years.  In August 2010 the club house was burnt to the ground and earlier this year vandals smashed every pane of glass in the building.  It is believed the latest blaze was started deliberately.  Club chairman James Morris said the damage was "soul destroying", but has pledged to rebuild the pavilion.  “We won’t be beaten by this – not a chance”, he said. “There is no electricity at the pavilion so unless it was a lightning strike we have been targeted again.  Why people do this sort of thing, I have no idea”.

Morris said “The reaction from the local community in just a few hours since the fire has been amazing.  The last time the pavilion burned down it cost £UK25,000 ($A42,120) to rebuild it – never mind the hundreds of volunteer man-hours that went into it.   Our insurance is in place and we will be talking to them”.  A crowdfunding page has been set up to help the club rebuild.  

An open letter from the club said: “With all of the hard work that our amazing volunteers do, and the huge numbers of people within the local community who enjoy cricket at Westleigh, it’s completely beyond any of us why anyone would feel the need to do this.  Junior and adult teams from Westleigh, North Devon, Buckland Brewer Real Tuff and The Reds play their home fixtures at the club, with many others visiting on tour or for regular league games.  The club is in a remote, idyllic location and whoever has done this has clearly gone to the ground with the intent of starting this fire". 

The village’s county councillor, Frank Biederman, said: “I’m devastated again that this has happened to such a lovely cricket club that’s valued by so many that either play for the club or visit to play cricket at such a traditional English ground.  I want to do all I can to help the club get the pavilion rebuilt and ready for the start of next season”.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 2,269

Sunday, 8 October 2017

 

• Ball strike to chest kills teenage umpire [PTG 2269-11484].

• Afghanistan, Ireland boost first class, List A numbers [PTG 2269-11485].

Ball strike to chest kills teenage umpire.

Agence France Presse.

Saturday, 7 October 2017.

PTG 2269-11484.

A Bangladeshi teenager died in hospital in Dhaka on Friday after he was hit by a ball while umpiring.  Rafiqul Islam, 17, was declared dead at Dhaka Medical College Hospital after being rushed there in a critical condition following the incident at Dhaka’s Balur Math ground. Police chief Enamul Haque said: "A group of youths were playing cricket and the boy was the umpire. He collapsed on the field after a ball hit him in the chest.  He is from a very poor family. His father is a rickshaw-puller and mother works as a housemaid. They buried him [on Friday] night”.

It is the third reported death of an umpire in the last eight years, although the first from a chest strike, after Alcwyn Jenkins of Wales in 2009 and Israel’s Hillel Awasker in 2014.  Jenkins died after suffering a "fearsome" blow to his head by a ball thrown by a fielder near the boundary.  A Coroner later found the tragedy was an "unfortunate accident” (PTG 601-3017, 5 May 2010), but others pointed to on-field technique issues (PTG 518-2664, 6 November 2009). Awasker died of what a hospital spokesman described at the time of a "catastrophic head wound” after a ball hit down the pitch ricocheted off the stumps hit him on the side of his head (PTG 1472-7119, 1 December 2014).

In India this week, Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) panel umpire Sandeep Thakur, who has been with the MCA for 19 years, suffered a serious head injury in a club match being played at the Cross Maidan and will be "out of action for a month” as a result.  Neurosurgeon Aadil Chagla was at the ground and attended to the umpire before he was rushed Bombay Hospital.   Thakur is said to have been struck on the forehead, however, the precise details of how he sustained the injury are unknown at this stage.

Two years ago there was a report that discussions had been opened between baseball and cricket authorities about future safety equipment after England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) umpires raised concerns over safety issues (PTG 1697-8368, 27 November 2017).  Two months before that former Australian player Rod Marsh said he feared it was "a matter of time" before an umpire is killed or seriously injured (PTG 1635-7999, 3 September 2015), and senior umpires in England were reported to be looking at the use of baseball catcher's helmets, chest pads and shin guards (PTG 1631-7965, 30 August 2015).

Angus Porter, the chief executive of the UK Professional Cricketers’ Association, said at the time: "There is no separate identified solution for umpires at the moment.  They have looked at the face mask in baseball used by umpires in that game who stand behind the catcher. They have been tried and found not wholly fit for the purpose of standing for seven hours at the stumps. But we do need to look at a lightweight version of face protection and there has been something developed for baseball pitchers.  There have been conversations of interest by people in cricket [with baseball] to develop new equipment. It is not to say you can carry across the solution from one sport or another but it is good to share ideas”.  Little if anything appears to have been achieved in this area in the two years since.

Afghanistan, Ireland boost first class, List A numbers. 

PTG Editor

Saturday, 7 October 2017.

PTG 2269-11485.

Seven Irish umpires made their first class debuts, and a total of fourteen stood in their first List A games, during Cricket Ireland’s (CI) three-day, 50 over and Twenty20 Inter-Provincial Championship (IPC) series this year.  The IPC three-day and 50 over series which involve three teams, Leinster, Northern Knights and North West Warriors, has been running since 2013, but last October the International Cricket Council (ICC) gave the three-day games first class status, and the 50 over and Twenty20 competition fixtures List A ratings (PTG 1948-9800, 16 October 2016). 

CI's first class umpire debutants in the six games involved were: Roly Black, Michael Foster, Bala Kailash, Jarath McCready, Graham McCrea, Paul Reynolds and Phillip Thompson, they joining Mark Hawthorne and Allan Neill on CI’s current first class register.  Hawthorne made his first class debut in 2011 in an ICC Intercontinental Cup match and Neill in 2012 during the visit of a South African ‘A’ side.  That pair plus Black are, commencing this week, members of the ICC’s second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP) (PTG 2268-11478, 6 October 2017).

McCrea and Thompson also made their 50 over and Twenty20 List A debuts during the season, and Foster plus Azam Baig, Thushara Wijesundera and Jonathan Kennedy their’s in the six 50 over List A fixtures.  Gordon Black, who is an international rugby referee, Howard Bingham, Gary Blair, Noel Dunn, Kailash, Reynolds, Michael Ross, Wijesundera and Steve Wood all made their Twenty20 List A debuts  in what was a four-team, twelve-match series, Munster joining the other three sides for the series.   No match referees appear to have been appointed to CI first class, List A or T20 games played this year.  

Over in Afghanistan, whose 50 over format series was also allocated List A status by the ICC last October, two referees and six umpires made their debuts at the level during the five-team, thirteen-match, Ghazi Amanullah Khan tournament in August.  

The two referees who managed the series, Hamim Khan and Zarab Shah Zaheer, both made their List A debuts in that capacity.  A total of eight umpires took the field during the ten days the event was underway, with Abdullah, Farooq Khan, Mehmood Kharotai, Izatullah Safi, Ajmal Shamolzi and Bismillah Shinwari all debuting.  The other two umpires who stood in those games were Ahmed Shah Pakteen and Ahmed Shah Durrani who had previously debuted in the List A format in second-tier One Day Internationals.  All except Abdullah and Khan made their List A Twenty20 debuts in September.

Like Ireland’s Black, Hawthorn and Neill, both Pakteen and Durrani are now members of the IUP.  Pakteen is the only Afghani to have stood at first class level to date (PTG 1797-8978, 10 April 2016), his matches being in second-tier internationals as a then member of the ICC’s third-tier umpire Development Panel.  In 2016 Afghanistan conducted a six team, 31-match four-day competition, the Ahmad Shah Abdali tournament, which was played in October-November, Safi and Kharotai standing in the final with Pakteen the match referee.  That series was not afforded first class status, however, this year’s will likely see 6-8 match officials debut at that level. 

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 2,270

Monday, 9 October 2017

 

• World cricket on verge of historic facelift [PTG 2270-11486].

• Teams reported in the dark over Playing Condition changes [PTG 2270-11487].

• Six named to manage South Africa, UAE, ODI series [PTG 2270-11488].

• Sydney’s record dry sparks injury warning for players [PTG 2270-11489].

World cricket on verge of historic facelift.

Chris Barrett.

Fairfax Media.

Monday, 9 October 2017.

PTG 2270-11486.

The face of Test cricket could be altered drastically this week with International Cricket Council (ICC) member nations on the verge of giving the green light to a new league structure that would culminate in a World Test Championship (WTC) (PTG 2174-11024, 23 June 2017).  Major changes to the Test and One Day International (ODI) game will be discussed at a meeting of national chief executives in New Zealand on Wednesday, with the proposals tipped to be signed off at a subsequent ICC board meeting on Friday (PTG 2256-11422, 23 September 2017).

Chief among them are well-advanced plans for a nine-nation WTC that in its first edition would be run over a cycle of two years from 2019, leading to the two top-placed teams playing off in a final at Lord's. The ODI format would also be transformed into a 13-nation league running over a three-year cycle, contributing to World Cup qualification with the leading teams also contesting a play-off at its conclusion (PTG 2172-11012, 22 June 2017).

Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland and chairman David Peever have been key drivers of the initiatives, which have been in the works for several years. Officials believe they will reshape the international game by adding context to series that have historically been standalone, bilateral contests.   

"I don't think people have quite cottoned on to how significant this is”, Sutherland said on Sunday. "Context is one thing but you're also creating structure in such a way that you no longer have games without meaning. They are all part of a league championship. There is a story, there is a narrative behind it all.  Not only is there context for the two teams in a series, but the good thing is there [is] an extra third-party interest. For other countries it means something for them as well because the result could determine where they end up”. 

Under the proposal, nations would play three Test series at home and three away over the two years of the championship, while in the ODI league there are two series home and away each year.  The system discussed for the WTC would see 100 points on offer for every series. Sixty points would go to the winner of the series – split if it is drawn – and the remaining 40 points would be allocated based on the results of the individual matches. 

In that way, Australia and England could, for instance, continue to play the Ashes over five Tests and other shorter series would still hold the same overall value. Timing constraints mean countries will not play every other team in the one cycle but the plan is for the ICC to assist in ensuring nations are not unfairly placed when it comes to their schedule of opponents.

While Lord's is regarded as the obvious venue to host the Test championship final an ultimate ambition for some is to have the top-placed nation over the two years host the country that finishes second on points. However, the seasonal nature of the sport in both hemispheres and the complications of scheduling will make that a challenging task.

The days of five-match ODI series would also be over, with limited-overs series to be capped at three games.  "In terms of the specific structure for the one-day league and the Test championship it's pretty well close”, Sutherland said.  "Hopefully it gives fans lots to talk about and lots to think about and from a players' perspective each one of those matches counts.  In terms of the question marks about one-day cricket and its context ... obviously there is clear context with the World Cup. We're building the concept around matches in between each World Cup and those games counting for World Cup qualification similar to the way football operates.  But there is also the league table and championship, so rather than a whole heap of random one-day matches being played it adds some extra context. Everyone plays a certain amount of games and plays everyone in the cycle. There is real meaning to it”.

The Test and ODI league standings would effectively replace the current world rankings.  Countries could still arrange standalone Twenty20 International series among themselves to run alongside the Test and ODI championships.

Teams reported in the dark over Playing Condition changes.

PTG Editor.

Monday, 9 October 2017.

PTG 2270-11487.

According to a ‘Cricinfo’ report both Indian and Australian players were not aware the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) was in operation for the first game of their three-match Twenty20 International (T20I) series in Ranchi on Saturday.  The International Cricket Council approved UDRS in T20Is five months ago (PTG 2146-10892, 26 May 2017), but deferred its introduction until after the five-match India-Australia One Day International (ODI) series that proceeded the current T20Is (PTG 2244-11363, 10 September 2017).

Australian player Aaron Finch acknowledged after the match it was strange that the playing conditions were "mixed and matched” across the ODI and T20I series. He said he "didn't know there was a review system until about the fifth over [of the game when he was batting]. Nobody did.  [Australian captain] Steve Smith, when he ran out a drink, mentioned it. So, we had to ask umpires [Nitin Menon and Chettithody Shamshuddin]".  Indian player Shikhar Dhawan admitted at the press conference to being in the dark as well. "I'm sure they [Australia] would have felt the inconsistency.  But whatever is the rule, is the rule”.

The new playing conditions also state that in a game "reduced to less than 10 overs, the maximum quota of overs per bowler shall not be less than two: meaning that if a match is reduced to five overs a side, two bowlers will be able to bowl two overs each.”  But this was not the case on Saturday despite [India’s innings] chase being cut to six overs. While three Australia bowlers could have bowled a maximum of two overs each under the new rules, only one - Nathan Coulter-Nile - was allowed to do that. Four others - debutant Jason Beherendoff, Andrew Tye, Adam Zampa and Dan Christian - sent down one over each.

While some of the confusion may have risen because the new rules weren't in operation in the India-Australia ODI series, it would appear no arrangements were in place, either via the match officials or each team's coaching group, to provide players with an overview of the changes that applied.

Six named to manage South Africa, UAE, ODI series.

PTG Editor.

Monday, 9 October 2017.

PTG 2270-11488.

Six members of the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) referee and umpire panels have been appointed to manage this month's One Day International (ODI) series between South Africa and Bangladesh and Pakistan and Sri Lanka.  Referees named are Rajan Madugalle of Sri Lanka and Andy Pycroft of Zimbabwe while the ICC Elite Umpire Panel members (EUP) are Aleem Dar of Pakistan, Richard Kettleborough of England and Sundarum Ravi of India.  Ruchira Palliyaguruge a member of the ICC’s second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP) is also involved.

Madugalle will oversee the three-match South Africa-Bangladesh series with Dar standing in the first and third of those fixtures in Kimberley and East London, and Palliyaguruge in the middle one in Paarl, each working as the television umpire when not on-field.  South African IUP members Shaun George, Adrian Holdstock and Patrick Bongani Jele are candidates for the second on-field and fourth umpire spots in the three fixtures.  

By series end Madugalle will have taken his ODI referee record to an unprecedented 312 games, Dar to 187 on-field and 49 as a television umpire (197/49) and Palliyaguruge, who will be working as a neutral in his 12th ODI series in 20 months, further strengthening his potential EUP credentials (PTG 2267-11473, 5 October 2017), to 52/17.  George, Holdstock and Jele go into the series on 24/4, 8/2 and 3/0 ODIs respectively.

In the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Pycroft will manage the five Pakistan-Sri Lankan games and have Ravi and Kettleborough as his two neutral companions.  Ravi is to stand in matches one, three and five in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah with Kettleborough the TV umpire, the Englishman being on-field in matches two and four in Abu Dhabi and Sharjah while Ravi looks after review system judgements.  Pakistan IUP members Ahsan Raza, Shozab Raza and Ahmad Shahab are expected to fill the second on-field and fourth umpire positions.  Pycroft’s ODI record will move on to 147 by series end, Kettleborough to 74/34 and Ravi 33/37.  The three Pakistan umpires go into the series on 24/9, 17/1 and 4/3 respectively.

After the ODIs finish, Madugalle will stay on to manage the two Twenty20 Internationals (T20I) South Africa and Bangladesh have scheduled, his 86th and 86th as a referee, Pycroft doing the same for the two games of the Pakistan and Sri Lanka T20I series scheduled for Abu Dhabi, his 59th and 60th.  The ICC appointments do not list the third game of that series scheduled for Lahore but which is subject to security clearance (PTG 2240-11339, 6 September 2017).  Pycroft’s referee colleague Richie Richardson of the West Indies oversaw the three Pakistan-World XI T20Is played in that city last month (PTG 2239-11332, 5 September 2017).

Sydney’s record dry sparks injury warning for players.

Clarissa Bye.

Sydney Daily Telegraph.

Monday, 9 October 2017.

PTG 2270-11489.

Sydney’s long dry spell has not only set records for the driest spring since records began in 1858, it’s turned the city’s sporting fields to “concrete” — with some cricketers being warned not to dive for catches because of the risk of injury.  It’s now been 65 straight days with no rain for the city above 2 mm — beating the 1989 record of 64 days.  Water usage across the city has jumped 25 per cent on normal, with the Observatory Hill weather station recording the driest ever September in 159 years.

Sydney Water hydraulic operations manager Robert Lus said the average total daily consumption was more than 340 million litres per day above the long-term September average of 1.380 billion litres a day.  “The September 2017 average day water demand is the highest since 2003”, he said.  “This dramatic increase can be attributed to both a drier lead in winter and the difference in rainfall levels in September between last year and this year”.

Across Sydney councils have introduced extra watering — including watering some parks twice a day — to keep sporting fields and gardens alive.  Berowra Cricket Club’s Greg Fieldler said the grounds in his area 40 kn north of Sydney were certainly very dry with “some people are saying it’s like playing on concrete”.  In the Glenorie District 45 km north-west of the city two players were injured in round one of the competition — both fracturing ribs diving for balls at two separate ovals.  “We have told each captain to remind the players of the increased chance of injury due to the hardness of the grounds”, the senior team’s manager Glenn Gittins said.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 2,271

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

  

• ICC names two Englishmen for second-tier referees’ panel [PTG 2271-11490].

• Cricket gets another haircut: T10 is the new T20 [PTG 2271-11491].

• CA broadcast deal next after WTC sign-off [PTG 2271-11492].

• Safe stolen from Blackburn club 'only held ball’ [PTG 2271-11493].

ICC names two Englishmen for second-tier referees’ panel.

PTG Editor.

Tuesday, 10 October 2017.

PTG 2271-11490.

Phil Whitticase and Wayne Noon, members of the England and Wales Cricket Board’s (ECB) Cricket Liaison Officer (CLO) group, have been added to the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) International Match Referee Panel (IMRP) for 2017-18 alongside exisiting member David Jukes.  Last week the ICC expanded what was the second-tier Regional Referees Panel (RRR) from six to twenty-six and gave it its new IMRP title, but left the two England spots as "to be confirmed" (PTG 2267-11472, 5 October 2017).  

The CLO's role on the county circuit includes supporting umpires, groundsmen, counties and the ECB by providing detailed reports of match activities, including disciplinary issues, tasks that in other countries and the international circuit that come under the jurisdiction of match referees.  Whitticase, 52, was appointed to what is now the CLO group ahead of the 2015 UK summer and Noon, 46, last February, and both worked in that role during the recently completed 2017 season (PTG 2044-10356, 10 February 2017).

Whitticase played 132 first class and 111 List A games for Leicestershire as a wicketkeeper over 12 seasons from 1984-95.  Upon retiring as a player, he qualified as a Level Four coach and remained with the club in a variety of roles before being named as head coach and academy director.  He left the club at the end of 2014, taking up the CLO position soon after (PTG 1522-7327, 16 February 2015).

Noon, another former 'keeper, featured in 92 first class, 121 List A and 4 Twenty20 fixtures for Northamptonshire and Nottinghamshire over the years from 1998-2003, before that playing eight Under-19 Tests and seven One Day Internationals (ODI) at that level in both England and Australia.  He was Nottinghamshire’s assistant coach for more than a decade, leaving that spot at the end of last year to, said a report at the time, "pursue ambitions in elite coaching”, but took up the CLO role a couple of months later.

The ICC lists in its words, Whitticase “1st", Noon “2nd" and Jukes “3rd”, on the IMRP.  Dukes, 61, who has not played first class cricket made his International debut as a RRR member in 2009 and has gone on over the last eight years to oversee three womens’ Tests, 122 womens’ ODIs and 59 womens’ Twenty20 Internationals (T20I).  His record also includes 48 first class, 88 List A, 65 of them ODIs, and 101 T20I matches that featured ICC second-tier national sides.

Cricket gets another haircut: T10 is the new T20.

Peter Lalor. 

The Australian.

Saturday, 6 October 2017.

PTG 2271-11491.

As South Africa wrestles with its players and the game’s ruling body in a move to shorten its Boxing Day Test to four days (PTG 2265-11462, 3 October 2017), an entrepreneur has announced that T20 is too long and T10 is what distracted fans need. The inaugural edition of the 10-overs-per-side T10 Cricket League is to be played in Sharjah in December and will feature eight subcontinental themed franchises: Team Punjabis, Team Pakhtoons, Team Maratha, Team Banglas, Team Lankans, Team Sindhis and Team Keralites.  Players for those teams will be selected through a draft system later this month.

Well-known players such as Virender Sehwag, Chris Gayle, Shahid Afridi, Kumar Sangakkara and former Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq have all signed for the new competition.  Games last 90 minutes, the tournament is completed in a matter of days and spectators are advised to be seated on time lest they miss an innings or a match.

Nano cricket has taken a number of shapes over the years. In the 1990s Martin Crowe designed 'Cricket Max' which featured two innings of 10 eight-ball overs per team. The Hong Kong Sixes tournament later this month sees teams of six players bowl five overs in what is essentially a 10-over game.

The devolution of the game fulfils a 2006 prophecy of then acting honorary secretary of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) Niranjan Shah who rejected proposals that the International Cricket Council hold a T20 tournament that year.  “T20? Why not 10-10 or 5-5 or 1-1?”, Shah infamously said at the time.  He warned that India would never play T20, but eventually agreed to what became the inaugural Twenty20 World Championship series of 2007 but insisted participation not be compulsory.

India left many of its best players at home but won that tournament and the new format was embraced in a way nobody had ever imagined. With the rebel Indian Cricket League having established a toe hold, the BCCI dropped its objections, formed the Indian Premier League and the face of world cricket changed forever.

Afridi, 37, who retired last year from international cricket, leads the charge of excited elderly participants.  “When I was told of the idea I was thrilled and requested that I play”, he said.  Misbah, 43, who retired earlier this year also saw an opportunity for those in their twilight years.  “It’s an exciting idea and a good thing for players like me”, he said. “It will need just 10 overs of batting and then fielding, and at this age I can afford that”.

England One Day International captain Eoin Morgan believes he has got in on the ground floor of "an exciting new concept".  “We all remember when the first time Twenty20 cricket was played and since then it has impacted the other formats”, he said. “If this new idea takes off then I am sure it will also impact the other forms of the game”.

CA broadcast deal next after WTC sign-off.

Chris Barrett.

Fairfax Media.

Tuesday, 10 October 2017.

PTG 2271-11492.

The signing off on a World Test Championship (WTC) and a new One Day International (ODI) league is expected to escalate negotiations between Cricket Australia (CA) and broadcasters for the rights to televise the sport over the next five years.  The WTC and ODI league could be announced by Friday in Auckland, although finer details such as the proposed WTC points system are unlikely to be confirmed this week but an in-principle decision on the overhaul is anticipated by officials.

Australian broadcasters are watching closely, eager for talks to ramp up on a new domestic rights television deal. Channel Nine, which has indicated it will bid not only to show Australia's home Tests and limited-overs internationals but the Big Bash League (BBL) as well, wants to have a deal settled by the end of the year at the latest (PTG 2106-10683, 18 April 2017).  With the shape of the cricket calendar over the next five years now on the verge of being determined, formal discussions could well begin soon after the International Cricket Council signs off on the Test and ODI league.  CA is insistent though it will not be rushed on the new domestic package.

The present five-year broadcast deal is worth $A590 million (£UK348 m) to CA, including $A100 m (£UK59 m) for the BBL, and expires at the end of the coming austral summer.  While Nine have pushed for CA to begin negotiations, the prospective takeover of BBL broadcasters Channel Ten by American broadcast giant CBS is a key factor for the governing body. Keen to ensure there is as much competition between broadcasters as possible to drive up the price CA is waiting on the outcome of a three-day court hearing into the legality of the takeover, which is tentatively scheduled for the last day of this month.

Meanwhile, Sony Pictures Networks (SPN), which lost out to Star India for the new five-year Indian Premier League broadcast deal (PTG 2239-11330, 5 November 2017), have won CA’s broadcast rights for the Indian sub-continent for the next six years, the Australian board’s second-most lucrative broadcast rights arrangement.  Just what that deal is worth has not been announced.  Apart from broadcasting the coming Ashes series, SPN will have the rights to broadcast multiple Indian tours down under plus visits by Pakistan, South Africa and the Ashes of 2021-22.  SPN already have a tie up with the cricket boards of Sri Lanka, Pakistan, West Indies, South Africa and Zimbabwe.

Safe stolen from Blackburn club 'only held ball’.

BBC News.

Monday, 9 October 2017.

PTG 2271-11493.

A burglar who dragged a safe across a cricket field before abandoning it would only have found a match ball inside, say officials from Blackburn's East Lancashire Sports Club.  The thief, who broke into the club rooms on Sunday damaging windows and doors, lugged the safe down stairs and across the ground before ditching it unopened.

The club's Janet Clark said the safe's weight was due to the concrete in its base and not its contents.  If he had unlocked it, "he would have found a ball worth £UK18.59 ($A31.50)”, she added.  The club lost the safe’s key two years ago, but were certain there was only the ball inside, she said.  It has been returned to its original place in the clubhouse by Clark's husband and a police officer, who used "a trolley" to move it, as "it was so heavy”.

Lancashire Police said a 39-year-old man has been charged with burglary, however, they did not indicate what the condition of his back is.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 2,272

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

 

• Omani player banned for life for 'umpire assault' [PTG 2272-11494].

• Lawyers stop play over nepotism claims [PTG 2272-11495].

• No sanction as team bowls eight overs in final hour [PTG 2272-11496].

• CSA postpones Global T20 league start to 2018 [PTG 2272-11497].

• World Test Championship: Here we go again [PTG 2272-11498].

Omani player banned for life for 'umpire assault'.

Ashok Purohit.

Muscat Daily.

Tuesday, 10 October 2017.

PTG 2272-11494.

Dhiyab al Balushi, a player with Oman's National Bank of Oman club, has been banned for life for “physically assaulting” umpire Sanjay Shah during an E Division match between his side and Bank Muscat played at Al Amerat inmid-September.  According to Oman Cricket (OC), Balushi made "inappropriate and deliberate physical contact with an umpire, a Level Four offence”.  It said it has "zero tolerance for indiscipline or unruly behaviour on the field of play”, but did not detail the precise nature of the incident.

Another controversy hit Oman Cricket last week during a Premier Division match between Al Turki NMC and Passage to India (PTI) teams, Al Turki's Twinkle Bhandari was adjudged hit-wicket by umpire Anantha Kumar Rajamani.  Sultan Ahmed, who is the skipper of both PTI and Oman’s national side, had appealed for a leg-before decision against Bhandari, but an unofficial video, that went viral on social media, shows that while appealing Ahmed himself dislodged the batsman’s bails with his foot and sought the hit-wicket decision.

OC is reviewing the incident with the help of its own four cameras and a senior official said that it will announce a “decisive decision” on the “unsportsmanlike” act soon.  The national cricket body only introduced video recording of Premier Division games the week before and its disciplinary committee will for the first time have available video footage of the incident to assist it in reaching its decision. 

Lawyers stop play over nepotism claims.

PTG Editor.

Tuesday, 10 October 2017.

PTG 2272-11495.

A Board of Control for Cricket in India Under-23 four-day match between Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) and Goa, which got underway last Sunday, was suspended after just 13 overs, with Goa on 1/13, when the match referee presented the J&K captain with a “stay order” he had received from the regional high court.  A former J&K player lodged a petition with the court alleging that he was dropped from the squad because one of the selectors had insisted on picking his own son instead. The Jammu and Kashmir Cricket Association has denied the allegation and play will resume after the court next hears the matter. 

No sanction as team bowls eight overs in final hour.

PTG Editor.

Tuesday, 10 October 2017.

PTG 2272-11496.

Assam bowled just eight overs in the last hour of their Ranji Trophy first class match against Delhi on Monday as their opponents chased 79 in what was supposed to be 14 overs for an outright win. ‘Cricinfo’ says that Delhi’s coach, KP Bhaskar, whose side ended 30 runs short of their goal as the match ending in a draw, ruled out lodging a formal complaint for in his assessment Assam "were astute in tackling the situation while remaining within the laws”.

Journalist Akshay Gopalakrishnan wrote that the official time for close of play on Monday’s fourth and final day was 4.15 p.m., with teams being given a half hour extension. However, umpires Karumanaseri Ananthapadmanabhan and Krishnaraj Srinath, who were standing in their 53rd and 52nd first class games respectively, allowed the game to continue until 5.30 p.m., by which time they judged the light had deteriorated such that they called ’time’.  Official sunset time in Delhi on Monday was 5.58 p.m.  

“[Assam] were using delaying tactics” said Bhaskar, for “where they should have bowled 14 overs, they ended up bowling [eight]”.  Another report from the game said Assam captain Gokul Sharma spread his field with a deep third man, deep point, deep midwicket and deep fine leg to stop boundaries. At one point there were eight fielders on the boundary.  The two bowlers used utilised "time wasting tactics” for “they would stop their run up, take their own time, and tend to ‘injuries', in an obvious effort to delay the proceedings as the light progressively got worse".

The Board of Control for Cricket in India’s (BCCI) playing conditions for “multi-day matches men” currently available on line says that “on the last day, a minimum of 75 overs (or a minimum of 15 overs per hour) shall be bowled during the playing time other than the last hour of the match”.  In relation to the latter it goes on to say "a minimum of 15 overs shall be bowled in the last hour and all calculations with regard to suspensions of play or the start of a new innings shall be based on one over for each full four minutes”.  

BCCI playing conditions follow the game’s Laws in regarding to ‘Time Wasting by the Fielding Side’, but also say though that monetary fines can only be levied on a team for an over-rate breach if they bowl a minimum of 50 overs. Lalchand Rajput, the Assam coach, suggested Delhi paid the price for failing to complete their overs on time in Assam's second innings. "They were seven or eight overs short”, Rajput said. "That automatically got carried over to us. Had they been quicker, we would have bowled earlier”. Delhi bowled 109 overs in Assam’s second innings therefore if Rajput’s claim is correct they could potentially have been fined, but so far there has been no indication they have.

CSA postpones Global T20 league start to 2018.

Firdose Moonda.

Cricinfo.

Wednesday, 10 October 2017.

PTG 2272-11497.

The inaugural season of Cricket South Africa's (CSA) Twenty20 Global League, which was scheduled to begin three weeks this Friday, has been postponed to November 2018 instead.  The franchises understand that the delay in securing a stable television broadcast deal and central rights sponsorship for the tournament were the main reasons for postponing the GLT20, the brainchild of former CSA chief executive Haroon Lorgat who had parted ways with the board last month (PTG 2262-11451, 29 September 2017).

CSA informed all the eight franchises of the decision over the past few days. "We have not come to this decision lightly”,CSA's acting chief executive Thabang Moroe said. "Having discussed it with all our stakeholders including the franchise owners, we believe that the interest of the league should be our first priority. We have re-assessed our strategy and believe that postponing the first edition of the T20 Global League to next year will serve us well. We will regroup and come back stronger and better”.

With less than a month to go before kickoff, the event faced numerous logistical challenges, not least the inability to secure a broadcast deal or a title sponsor, resulting in hefty financial losses. Though local broadcaster SuperSport is understood to have been close to putting pen to paper, the deal was going to be worth much less than CSA anticipated.  Last week, Moroe told reporters that CSA was bracing for a $US25 million ($A32 m, £UK18.9 m) loss on the first edition of the tournament, which amounted to half of the organisation's cash reserves. He also provided an assurance that the tournament would go ahead as planned.

The South African Cricketers Association (SACA) expressed its "concern and disappointment” and has called for an "independent review" into what has caused the postponement of the T20 Global League.  "This has a very significant impact on a large number of local and overseas players, all of whom have signed contracts to play in the league”, Tony Irish, chief executive of SACA, said. "Some players turned down other opportunities in order to commit themselves to these contracts. We will be looking at all implications of this for players, including what compensation should be paid to them”.

World Test Championship: Here we go again.

Andy Bull.

The Guardian.

Tuesday, 10 October 2017.

PTG 2272-11498.

Ready your arguments, it’s time to have that conversation all over again. The International Cricket Council’s (ICC) chief executives are meeting in Auckland this week, and the expectation is that they will agree in principle to the launch of a World Test Championship (WTC) (PTG 2270-11486, 9 October 2017). 

The league is slated to start in 2019, a mere 22 years after the idea was first proposed by Ali Bacher and Clive Lloyd at the ICC’s conference in 1997, the glacial progress of the plan accelerated, in the end, by the widespread acceptance that after two decades of prevarication it’s very nearly too late anyway.  As current ICC chief executive David Richardson put it a couple of years back: “doing nothing is not an option any more”. 

James Sutherland, Cricket Australia’s chief executive, has just said that he doesn’t think “people have quite cottoned on to how significant this is”. And he’s right, if only because the ICC’s mandarins have been talking about this for so long you sense most people stopped listening a long while back. If the details that have surfaced so far about the WTC are right, the league will be the most radical change to Test cricket since the end of the Packer affair. And yet, the plan already has the vague whiff of failure about it, redolent with desperation and compromise.

Back when Bacher and Lloyd were first promoting the idea, it couldn’t have been any more straightforward. All the teams would agree to play at least one home Test and one away Test against each other every four years, with two points awarded for each series victory and one apiece for each series drawn. There was another idea that, at the end of the cycle, the top two teams in the rankings would play a final Test against each other to decide the winner. It was imperfect, because it meant that a one-off match would carry the same weight as a five-Test series. But as Matthew Engel, who argued hard for the league when he was ‘Wisden' editor, explained: “A complex game needs simple structures”.

This principle got lost somewhere along the way. The system the ICC is about to bring in seems so Byzantine that it makes the Constantine’s  fourth century bureaucracy look straightforward. The 12 Test-playing nations would be split into two groups, one of nine, another of three. In the first of these, the nine teams would each agree to play six series, three home, and three away, every two years. These series could be two matches short, five matches long, or anything in between. But, according to a Fairfax Media report they would all be played for 100 points, which will be divided so that 60 hinge on the series result and 40 on what happens in the individual matches.

At the end of the two-year cycle, the two top teams will play a final. This hasn’t been touched on publicly, but you would hope there would be a play-off to decide the issue of promotion and relegation from the second division, too. Hope, though, is a fanciful thing. The last time the ICC floated the idea of promotion and relegation it was shot down by the nations who were worried they’d find themselves stranded playing Zimbabwe, Ireland, and Afghanistan. Which is why the league has that lop-sided nine-three split to begin with. Given this is cricket, it’s just as likely that at the end of the first two-year cycle, the league will be entirely redesigned and a new structure drawn up for the following round.

Still, the new system may well be the best, or rather the least bad, available in the circumstances. The reason it took two decades to get this far was because of the competing self-interests of the boards involved. Everybody wants to play India, India don’t want to play Pakistan, Australia and England want to protect the Ashes, nobody wants to be stranded in the second division, and everybody wants to have room to run their own domestic Twenty20 leagues in among everything else. The ICC is trying to impose some sort of order on a system that has been growing wild for over a hundred years. To push it through, they’ve had to please everyone, so the plan feels as though it’s been compromised several times too often.

And underlying the entire scheme, of course, is the tacit admission that the contest isn’t enough any more, that Test cricket needs a context too, something that matters more than the rivalries between the teams and the obscure trophies many of these series are currently played for. Which feels like evidence of the authorities’ ongoing negligence. Competitive games, between closely-matched teams, in challenging conditions, sell themselves without recourse to gimmicks. But there are too few of those matches in Test cricket. So this imperfect Test Championship, a league which will be won by a team that won’t even have played all the other contenders, is the upshot. Cross your fingers it works.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 2,273

Thursday, 12 October 2017

 

• Women’s cricket ‘likely to be a target’ for corruption, insiders fear [PTG 2273-11499].

• Another Test, ODIs for EUP contenders [PTG 2273-11500].

• High Court directs rescheduling of BCCI U-23 match [PTG 2273-11501].

• ECB to consider Middlesex points deduction appeal [PTG 2273-11502].

• No four-day Tests in first WTC [PTG 2273-11503].

• With eye on TV rights, CA exploring yet further BBL expansion [PTG 2273-11504].

• Players mull action after Global T20 postponement [PTG 2273-11505].

• Kingsmead passes drainage test [PTG 2273-11506].

Women’s cricket ‘likely to be a target’ for corruption, insiders fear.

Tim Wigmore.

The Guardian.

Thursday, 12 October 2017.

PTG 2273-11499.

Senior figures in world cricket have warned of the growing threat of corruption within the “vulnerable” women’s game, with an explosion in interest making it more attractive to fixers.  The warnings come in the wake of a successful World Cup and as England prepare in Australia for the Women’s Ashes, which begins in ten days. Tony Irish, the chief executive of international cricket’s players’ association, warned that the women’s game is particularly at risk.

“Women’s cricket is receiving more attention and is more and more on TV so it is likely to be targeted”, Irish said, expressing concern about how the quality of anti-corruption measures differs between nations. “As with the men’s game there are very different standards of anti-corruption education received by women across the world”.

In July, the Women’s World Cup (WWC) final at Lord’s had £UK78 m ($A132 m) traded on it on betting agency ‘Betfair' – 8.5 times more than the 2013 final. More than 150 different operators worldwide offered betting markets for the tournament, according to sports data company ‘Sportradar'. So far in 2017, the sums bets on women’s cricket with Ladbrokes are 43 per cent greater than in all of 2016, with the Ashes still to come. Industry insiders have highlighted how the extra liquidity in betting markets for women’s cricket is creating potential opportunities for corruptors.

Irish called on the International Cricket Council (ICC) to do more to safeguard the integrity of the sport for both genders. “There is no global education program for players, either men or women, and not much appetite from the ICC to introduce one. That’s a huge concern for us, especially with more and more men and women moving around the world playing in different domestic competitions”.

The ICC’s Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU) is in charge of monitoring international cricket across both genders, and was an active presence at this year’s WWC. But national anti-corruption units are in charge of monitoring domestic matches, as well as providing education to players who have yet to play for their national teams. It is felt that the attention different nations pay to these requirements, in both men’s and women’s cricket, still varies considerably.

Alex Marshall, general manager of the ICC’s ACU, said that the governing body was aware that the growing interest in women’s cricket has increased the risk of corruption. “We need to be alert to the fact that individuals, matches or tournaments may be seen as corruptible and continue to work with members to educate, prevent and where necessary disrupt and prosecute any criminal behaviour”.

Authorities have not yet uncovered any evidence of international women cricketers being approached. But the ICC believes that a greater emphasis on policing the sport is necessary to keep the women’s game free from the corruption scandals that continue to blight men’s cricket.  The ACU's international education program is currently being revised. The new one will emphasise education specifically tailored for men and women, as well as people of different cultures, languages and ages. Some international women cricketers have previously noted that their anti-corruption training was clearly imported wholesale from the men’s game, showing a lack of awareness of different circumstances – such as pay and incentives.

Clare Connor, the director of England Women’s Cricket, admitted that the sport’s growth has brought new fears about corruption. “The women’s game, with more televised games than ever before and with the vast majority of players not yet earning significant sums of money, is likely to be a target for match-fixers”, she said.

Beyond Australia, England and, after their progress to the World Cup final, India, many international players from other major cricket nations are lowly paid, often supplementing their cricket incomes with other jobs. High-profile matches involving players who earn relatively small amounts are regarded as prime target for fixers. “Education and raising awareness are clearly key to guarding against it: ensuring players are clued up, switched on, aware of the dangers”, Connor added.

In England, all men and women playing domestic cricket must complete the Professional Cricketers’ Association’s (PCA) anti-corruption online module before they can be registered to play (PTG 924-4498, 4 April 2012). Before next season, the PCA will roll out a new module for all male and female players in the professional game in England and Wales.

In Australia, the board noted a significant increase in the popularity of the Women’s Big Bash with regulated betting operators last season. For the new season, across domestic and international matches in both genders, Cricket Australia has introduced a new mobile app for players and officials, which includes anti-corruption education and a new way for players to report any suspected approaches (PTG 2238-11328, 1 September 2017).

Another Test, ODIs for EUP contenders.

PTG Editor.

Thursday, 12 October 2017.

PTG 2273-11500.

Two contenders for positions on the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) Elite Umpires Panel (EUP) next year have received further senior international appointments from the world body.  Australian Simon Fry is to stand in another Test series, that between Zimbabwe and the West Indies in Bulawayo late this month, while around the same time Englishman Michael Gough will be one of three neutral officials who will manage the three One Day Internationals (ODI) India and New Zealand are to play in Mumbai, Pune and Kanpur.

Fry will work with his countryman Paul Reiffel, Javagal Srinath of India and Kumar Dharmasena of Sri Lanka in the two Tests in Zimbabwe.  Srinath will oversee the series as the match referee, while Dharmasena will be on-field in both matches, with Reiffel in the first and Fry the second, the Australians serving as the television umpire when not on-field.  Fry will be on-field in his seventh Test in the last two years and his third in Zimbabwe, the others being in Chennai, Colombo, Hamilton and Nottingham.  Srinath will be working as a Test match referee in his 36th and 37th Tests, while by series end Dharmesena will have been on-field in 49 and a television umpire in 13 (49/13), and Reiffel in 33/17.

Gough will be in India with his countryman and match referee Chris Broad plus Australian Rod Tucker.  He will be on-field in Mumbai and Kanpur and Tucker in Pune, each working as the television umpire when not out on the ground.  Broad will finish the series with 74 ODIs as a referee, Tucker on 72/40 and Gough 38/16.  They are expected to work with Indian members of the ICC’s second-tier International Umpires Panel, Chettithody Shamshuddin, Anil Chaudhary, CK and Nitin Menon, who go into the forthcoming games on 26/16, 13/17, 3/7 and 3/2 respectively.

Joel Wilson of the West Indies, the third EUP contender, has been appointed by the ICC to stand in two Tests and seven ODIs so far this year, Fry two and five and Gough nil and five (PTG 2179-11043, 27 June 2017).  Given the availability of neutral umpires on the current EUP for the coming Ashes series, Wilson would appear likely to be allocated one or two more by years end.  With seven of the twelve EUP members either Englishmen or Australians, that leaves only Dharmasena, Aleem Dar of Pakistan, Marais Erasmus of South Africa, Chris Gaffaney of New Zealand and Sundarum Ravi of India available for the 15 neutral spots that need to be finned for the five Ashes Tests.

High Court directs rescheduling of BCCI U-23 match.

Kashmir Sports Watch.

Wednesday, 11 October 2017.

PTG 2273-11501.

The Jammu and Kashmir High Court has directed that the Under-23 CK Naidu Trophy match between Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) and Goa, which was stopped on Sunday following a court order, be rescheduled to sometime in the period from 15-25 October (PTG 2272-11495, 11 October 2017).  The court passed the directions after it modified the order passed on Sunday by a Magistrate in relation to claims of nepotism made against J&K selectors.

The court directed that the J&K squad originally selected for the deferred match be permitted to play in the rescheduled game, saying that the affidavit presented by the petitioner on Sunday had “misled" the magistrate as it contained information that was “wrong”.  “We came to know the fact that J&K chief selector has not selected his son in the [team] and by no means has it been proved in court that the selection list was based on [any bias]”.

Advocate Sethi, who was representing the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) said: “It is absolutely false that the chief selector had any relationship with any person, the selection was purely based on merit. The information submitted by the petitioner is based on personal interests and that led to the order to stop the match.  Umpires stopped play as a result of the intervention of the match referee and we were told nothing about the reasons. Players stayed in the middle for almost one hour and after that they were called back to the dressing room and taken back to their hotel rooms”.

High Court Justice Durrez told the petitioner's counsel to in future verify the facts of cases he deals with and only submit "concrete evidence" to support his arguments.  “In this case, we see nothing but false information given which is totally unacceptable and can lead to the petitioner to jail”, said Durrez.

ECB to consider Middlesex points deduction appeal.

BBC Radio,

Wednesday, 11 October 2017.

PTG 2273-11502.

Middlesex's appeal over their two-point deduction, which effectively resulted in their relegation, will be considered by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) (PTG 2263-11454, 30 September 2017).  The punishment came for a slow over-rate during August's Division One match at Surrey, which was abandoned when a crossbow bolt was fired into The Oval.  The appeal has been referred to the chairman of the ECB's discipline commission, Tim O'Gorman, who is considering his response. A decision could be made next week.

Middlesex were relegated from the top tier by one point after losing their final match of the season to Somerset, who leapfrogged the 2016 champions with victory at Taunton to seal their own survival.  The crossbow incident at The Oval meant Middlesex, who have confirmed they have "made submissions to the chairman of the Cricket Disciplinary Commission over the issue", were denied the chance to improve their over-rate in the remainder of the final session.

After the points deduction was announced in early September, Middlesex chief executive Richard Goatley said there was "no scope" for an appeal, despite the fact he was "extremely disappointed" by the decision (PTG 2244-11361, 10 September 2017). A day after their relegation, managing director of cricket Angus Fraser told BBC Radio London they would raise the circumstances of the deduction with the ECB.

No four-day Tests in first WTC.

Elizabeth Ammon.

The Times.

Wednesday, 11 October 2017.

PTG 2273-11503.

Four-day Test matches will not be introduced to the first World Test Championship (WTC) cycle, which is expected to be approved on Friday (PTG 2270-11486, 9 October 2017).  The International Cricket Council (ICC) board is set to agree to a new structure in which the top nine teams will play three series at home and three away against six countries over a two-year period, with the first running from the northern autumn 2019 to the end of the northern summer of 2021. These Tests will be played over the five-day format.

However, the ICC is expected to approve South Africa’s request for their Test against Zimbabwe starting on Boxing Day to be a day-night four-day affair (PTG 2265-11462, 3 October 2017). It will use the match as a trial with a view to four-day Tests being scheduled against Afghanistan, Ireland and Zimbabwe, who are unlikely to be in the WTC.

Meanwhile, Ireland's first-ever Test match could be staged in Dublin against Pakistan next year.  Talks between Ireland and Pakistan are ongoing in regards to a Test being played in late April or early May, discussions continuing at ICC meetings in Auckland this week.  The ICC said on Tuesday that Pakistan will play a "red ball" match against Ireland next April ahead of their two-Test tour of England.   The average temperature for Dublin in April is eight degrees Centigrade and eleven in May, while rain falls there on an average of 18 days in April and 20 in May.

With eye on TV rights, CA exploring yet further BBL expansion.

Ben Horne.

Sydney Daily Telegraph

Wednesday, 11 October 2017.

PTG 2273-11504.

Cricket Australia (CA) is exploring the prospect of expanding its Twenty20 Big Bash League (BBL) to a marathon full home-and-away season, as experts predict the League may have already hit its ratings peak (PTG 2117-10742, 29 April 2017).   Plans are being discussed to potentially push the BBL deep into February, with an aim to give broadcasters more bang for their buck in the looming TV rights negotiations, and at the same time reclaim the tail end of the summer from the women’s Australian Football League (AFL) which is a very popular product.

BBL rights are predicted to at least double and potentially triple to be worth up to $A60 million (£UK35.3 m) a year in the next deal, while international rights are tipped to drop from their current standing at around $A95 m (£UK56 m).  CA is sweating on Network Ten being successfully taken over by early November so they can get back on their feet and a pre-Christmas bidding war might break out with Channel Nine, who have made no secret of their desire to poach the BBL and retain the Test rights as well (PTG 2106-10683, 18 April 2017).

The upcoming BBL season has already been expanded from four home games for each side to five, pushing the final back to the first Sunday in February. However, it is understood there is consideration being given to cranking that number up to a full home and away seven home matches for each of the each eight teams — a move which if put into action would result in the BBL being beamed into lounge rooms from early-mid December right up until nearly the last week of the Australian summer.

More content doesn’t necessarily mean more revenue as far as broadcasters are concerned, but CA knows the BBL is their best hope of securing the rights bonanza they’re banking on and shutting out rival sports.  

Media analyst Steve Allen from Fusion Strategy has warned that while the BBL is now a proven summer force (with average audiences over a million), there are indications its ratings spikes have hit the ceiling.  “We don’t think the ratings for Big Bash will climb distinctly better than the last season”, said Allen. 'We think there is some upside but we think they’ve got all the big growth numbers already.  We can’t see a way of them getting another double digit increase in the next season. And we can’t see that happening season after season".

Allen said: “Of course there is upside. Ten took a punt on the BBL and it’s paid Ten back in spades. It more than doubled the ratings.  But while Ten in our view is going to pay twice what it paid ($A20 m - £UK11.8 m - in the last deal) we doubt whether it will go beyond that, because beyond that it goes beyond the fundamentals of the ratings and revenue available”.

The clear message from major Australian broadcasters is that sports rights are overpriced and must be reined in.  Nine are pushing for a deal by the end of the year, and Ten may also be keen to get something done shortly after their takeover is finalised — setting up the prospect of negotiations going on in the background to the Ashes summer.  CA is putting no time frame on the talks.

Fusion analyst, Allen, predicted there would be serious drawbacks for both Nine and Cricket Australia if the governing body gives the network control of all cricket content — BBL and internationals.  

Allen warned CA needed to be smart enough to take the best not deal, not necessarily the most lucrative one.  “Technically speaking Nine could control all cricket”, he said.  “I would then argue that given the cricket season runs from early November to late February, do you want a network to have maybe 60 days wall to wall of cricket?”

"It will harm your popularity overall, Nine Network. Because while you’re the home of cricket, you’re stuffing it down people’s throats.  Nine would no doubt say we wouldn’t necessarily put it all on the main channel, but [CA] would have a point of view on that.  Just like the AFL, the National Rugby League and Tennis Australia have a point of view on that. Those sporting codes know there’s a big difference in the ratings they can get on the main channel compared to the digital channels”.

Players mull action after Global T20 postponement.

Nick Hoult.

London Daily Telegraph.

Wednesday, 11 October 2017.

PTG 2273-11505.

Eoin Morgan and Kevin Pietersen are among English cricketers facing losses of up to £UK200,000 ($A339,615) after the sudden postponement of Cricket South Africa’s (CSA) inaugural Global T20 League, while Alex Hales is also set to be £UK100,000 ($A169,810) out of pocket and waiting to hear if compensation will be paid following the announcement by CSA on Tuesday (PTG 2272-11497, 11 October 2017). 

Hales was picked up in the first round of the player draft, earning a contract to play for the Stellenbosch Kings. Sam Billings, Chris Jordan, Adil Rashid and Tom Curran were also bought in the draft for deals ranging between £UK70-80,000 ($A118,865-135,845. Pietersen, Morgan and Jason Roy had signed separate contracts outside the draft as overseas international icon players for fees believed to be around £UK200,000 that included the use of image rights to promote the tournament (PTG 2181-11063, 29 June 2017).

CSA now face the possibility of legal action from the 144 players who had signed contracts with the franchises.  “At this stage we’re unsure of exactly what a postponement means other than the fact that it’s clear the league will not take place this year”, said Tony Irish, the chief executive of the South African Cricketers’ Association. “We will be seeking clarity from CSA on the further implications  This has a very significant impact on a large number of local and overseas players, all of whom have signed contracts to play in the league.  Some players turned down other opportunities in order to commit themselves to these contracts.  We will be looking at all implications of this for players, including what compensation should be paid to them”.

The postponement is a huge blow for impoverished South African cricket. It was partly designed to reward South Africa’s own cricketers who are among the poorest paid in the world. A steady stream have taken ‘Kolpak' offers for county cricket and CSA had hoped this competition would end the exodus.  But now trust between the board and its players has been eroded further and counties will be eying some of South Africa’s best players. With Brexit threatening to close the Kolpak route from 2019, South African players will now face a decision whether to stay at home or try to cash in in England (PTG 2097-10628, 6 April 2017).

Kingsmead passes drainage test.

Firdose Moonda

Cricinfo.

Wednesday, 11 October 2017.

PTG 2273-11506.

With South African cricket reeling from the postponement of the inaugural edition of the T20 Global League yesterday and whispers of a crisis in the country's game, there was at least one reassurance some things still work. The drainage system at Kingsmead was put to the test, following severe flooding in Durban, and the ground passed with flying colours.

A video from Kingsmead on Tuesday afternoon showed an outfield which resembled more like a lake. Readings from the ground record more than 100 mm of rain in a few hours.  By Wednesday morning, the storm had abated, the water completely drained and the outfield was in pristine condition.

This is in stark contrast to the situation at Kingsmead little over a year ago (PTG 1909-9583, 27 August 2016). In August last year, three out of five days of a Test against New Zealand could not be played after a storm on the second evening caused a waterlogged outfield that did not dry despite bright sunshine (PTG 1907-9564, 25 August 2016). At the time, the ground had been re-scarified and was used earlier than it should have been. Since then, Kingsmead has hosted both international and domestic cricket without incident.

Despite the quick drainage, Kingsmead will not have many opportunities to show that off this austral summer. It will host only two international games - a One Day International against India in February and a Test against Australia in March.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 2,274

Friday, 13 October 2017

 

• South African umpires for NZ, India, Australian exchanges [PTG 2274-11507].

• Ireland to play Pakistan in its inaugural mens’ Test [PTG 2274-11508].

• Bangladesh players get limited benefits from BCB growth [PTG 2274-11509].

• Call for higher pay to stop women leaving the game [PTG 2274-11510].

South African umpires for NZ, India, Australian exchanges.

PTG Editor.

Friday, 13 October 2017.

PTG 2274-11507.

South African umpire Siphelele Gasa is to stand in two Plunket Shield first class matches in New Zealand next month as part of the on-going exchange program set up by New Zealand Cricket (NZC) and Cricket South Africa (CSA) 17 years ago,  Gaza, 33, is to stand with NZC umpire ‘Billy’ Bowden in Wellington in its match against Canterbury in mid-month, then after a week’s break with Ashley Mehrotra in Auckland where Canterbury will again be the visitors.

Gaza has been on CSA's national pathway for the past four years and made his debut at first class level two years ago and joined the National First Class Panel four months ago (PTG2157-10938, 8 June 2017).  He has stood in nine such games, eight of them three-day fixtures, the ninth last week in Pietermaritzburg being his four-day debut.  The same time period saw him stand in eight List A matches, five Twenty20s and five Under-19 One day internationals.

All members of NZC’s National Umpires Panel, Bowden, 54, Mehrotra, 48, Shaun Haig, 35, Tony Gillies, 43, Chris Brown, 44, Wayne Knights, 47, John Bromley, 49, Derek Walker, 57, and Tim Parlane, 59, plus Reserve Panel umpire John Dempsey, 52, have been allocated matches in the first 15 games of the Plunket season up until the end of November.  NZC match referees Gary Baxter, 65, Ross Dykes, 72, Kevin Earl, 68, Richard Hayward, 63, and Kevin Pulley, 62, will oversee the games.

Bowden is going into his 25th season at first class level with 162 such games, 84 of them Tests, to his credit (25/162), then comes Parlane with 14/81, Walker 13/86, Knights 11/53, Gillies 7/29, Methora 7/24, Brown 7/22, Haig 3/5 and Bromley 4/5.  Brown, Haigh and Walker all played at first class level before taking up umpiring.  All except Bromley and Haig have been on exchange to South Africa, Bowden doing so in 2000, Parlane 2007, Walker 2009, Knights 2012, Gillies 2014, Methora 2015 and Brown 2016.  NZC Reserve Panel member Richard Hooper travelling there earlier this year (PTG 2080-10530, 21 March 2017).

In other exchange news, CSA is sending Stephen Harris, 37, to India before year’s end where he is to stand in three Ranji Trophy games, one more than has been that case in previous years of the exchange program with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), while Brad White, 47, is this year’s exchangee to Australia next month.

It will be Harris’ third such exchange, he having stood in two Plunket Shield games in March 2016, and two Sheffield Shield matches in Australia last February (PTG 1953-9830, 20 October 2016 ).  He stood with Mehrotra in a game in Auckland and Brown in Christchurch, and in Australia with Greg Davidson at the Melbourne Cricket Ground and now retired Mick Martell at the Sydney Cricket Ground.  To date White has stood in 120 first class games, including two in New Zealand when on exchange there in 2011 in Whangarei and Hamilton.

NZC, Cricket Australia and the BCCI are yet to announce who their exchanges will be over the next few months.

Ireland to play Pakistan in its inaugural mens’ Test.

Cricinfo.

Friday, 13 October 2017.

PTG 2274-11508.

Ireland's first mens’ Test match will be against Pakistan in May 2018 after the two countries came to an agreement during International Cricket Council meetings in Auckland this week (PTG 2273-11503, 12 October 2017).  Ireland, along with Afghanistan, were elevated to Test status earlier this year.  Pakistan's trip to Ireland will come before their two-Test tour of England which begins in late May. The date and location for the Ireland match will be confirmed in the coming months.

Cricket Ireland chief executive Warren Deutrom said: "We are excited to welcome Pakistan to Ireland for our inaugural Test match next year.  It has been our wish to make our Test debut in front of our own fans within 12 months of becoming a Test nation, and against a big team, so I'm delighted.  There is a lot of work to do from now to ensure that it will be an occasion to remember but we, and I'm sure our players and fans, can't wait to rise to it," Deutrom said.  We would like to thank the Pakistan Cricket Board most sincerely for agreeing to be our first opponent in Test cricket, the Pakistan team has been a regular visitor to our shores in recent years, and their agreement to be our opponent on this important occasion for Irish cricket is further evidence of their terrific support”.

Bangladesh were the previous team to join the Test ranks when they played their first match against India in November 2000.

Bangladesh players get limited benefits from BCB growth.

Mohammad Isam.

Cricinfo.

Thursday, 12 October 2017.

PTG 2274-11509.

The Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) is generating greater revenues than it ever has, but that growth has not filtered down to the men most responsible for it: the national team. For the financial year 2017-18, the BCB is expected to earn $US30 million ($A38.3 m, £UK22.7 m), but they will spend only 1.8 per cent of that amount on national team salaries.

Documents show that the BCB will spend $US550,500 ($A703,320, £UK415,910) in total yearly players' salary for the centrally contracted cricketers. Over half of the BCB's earnings can be said to be generated from the senior team: $US17 m ($A21.7 m, £UK12.8 m) comes from title sponsors for international home series, national team sponsorship, International Cricket Council (ICC) and Asian Cricket Council events, as well as international TV rights. The BCB will earn $US1.4 m ($A1.8 m, £UK1.1 m) in this period, as part of a $US20 m ($A25.5 m, £UK15.1 m) broadcast deal with Gazi TV that ends in 2019. The players' salaries constitute just over three per cent of the $US17 m.

It isn't as if the BCB has not recognised the players' contribution at all. In May this year, the board raised player salaries, though they still didn't match those of Zimbabwe or Ireland players. The highest paid Bangladesh players - Mashrafe Mortaza, Shakib Al Hasan and Mushfiqur Rahim - are set to earn $US63,000 ($A80,490, £UK47,495) annually, a 68 per cent rise from the $US37,500-retainer ($A47,920, £UK28,330) that Grade A-plus cricketers earned the previous year. 

In the next four grades, players are paid between $US45,000 and $US15,000 annually ($A57,505-19,170, £UK33,995-11,330).  The players' match fees in all three formats have also seen an increase; a Test appearance fetches $US4,300 ($A5,495, £UK3,250), a One Day International $US2,500, ($A3,195, £UK1,890) and for Twenty20 Internationals $US1,250 ($A1,595, £UK945) per game.

This year's salary hike is mainly down to negotiations between senior players and BCB officials earlier in the year. Players like Mortaza, Shakib, Mushfiqur and Tamim Iqbal have been at the forefront of negotiations on big and small issues for the senior team. But what they put forward as their end of the bargain doesn't usually contain properly vetted numbers from within the BCB's financial reports, on which they can base their demands.

For instance, they don't know how much the BCB earns from ICC events ($US9 million -  ($A11.5 m, £UK6.8 m) - in 2017-18) or from the broadcast deal. They also aren't fully aware of team sponsorship deals. It hasn't helped that the players' body, the Cricketers Welfare Association of Bangladesh (CWAB), has become largely ineffective over the years.

The influence of these senior players is also limited to their team, and not for professional cricketers throughout the country. The BCB has been paying first-class cricketers a monthly salary since 2012, but has talked about shutting that down this year. Instead, most professional cricketers rely heavily on the Dhaka Premier League (DPL), the domestic one-day competition, for income. A top cricketer can earn between $US40,000 and $US60,000 there ($A51,105-76,655, £UK30,220-45,330).

Another source of income now is the Twenty20 Bangladesh Premier League (BPL). Mushfiqur, Tamim, Shakib, Mashrafe, Soumya Sarkar and Sabbir Rahman are projected to earn between $US62,500 and $US125,000 ($A79,850-159,700, £UK47,220-94,435) from BPL contracts for this year's tournament (the franchises don't disclose icon players' fees). But the DPL is poorly run, often with no paperwork to back players' claims for payment, or even a proper yearly schedule. In many seasons, the DPL is delayed for months, keeping even the top players uncertain about their financial future.

In contrast, a six-man foreign coaching staff stands to earn around $US1.1 m ($A1.4 m, £UK831,050) - double the total spent on player - in salaries. In the last few years, the BCB has relied on a number of foreign coaches, beginning with Chandika Hathurusingha and Heath Streak in mid-2014. They have since replaced Streak with Courtney Walsh. Coaching staff aren't paid match fees though.

Call for higher pay to stop women leaving the game.

Agence France Presse.

Thursday, 12 October 2017.

PTG 2274-11510.

Clare Connor, the former England captain who now heads the International Cricket Council's women's committee, has urged cricket bodies around the world to follow Australia's lead and dramatically raise wages for women's players to stop them dropping out of the sport.  Connor suggested that other countries must match Australia's eight-fold increase in wages.

Connor said: "We are all going to think very seriously of how well our players are remunerated, because if we don't look after them they will go and choose other sports or other professions and that will be a tragedy.  [Australia] are certainly setting the bar very high and this is a key issue for lots of countries. It is amazing that international women can earn that sort of money".

The women's World Cup this year won by England was hailed as a breakthrough for the women's game, with full stadiums and high TV ratings around the globe.  But many top players have said there has to be follow-up from the cricket hierarchy to acknowledge what is a growth area for the sport.

Connor said higher pay was a key area for women's cricket as it moves mainstream and generates increasing commercial opportunities.  Cricket Australia's new pay deal ensured a windfall for its women players, whose total payments have increased from $A7.5 million to $A55.2 m.  India's cricket board, the world's richest, has also promised a salary increase for women players, but no details have been announced.  “[India’s] team has captured the imagination and they have obviously got huge number of girls that could be attracted to the game as a result”, said Connor.

She acknowledged that "the men bring in significant commercial revenues to the game”.  "We are just starting out on our journey, hence there is a lot of discrepancy or difference how players are paid in various corners of the globe”.  

Tony Irish, chief executive of the international players' association, said earlier this week that the women's game is at risk from match-fixers, who often prey on players on low pay (PTG 2273-11499, 12 October 2017).

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 2,275

Saturday, 14 October 2017

 

• Scorer lone female in womens’ Test officials’ group [PTG 2275-11511].

• Polosak: being a trailblazer hasn't always been easy [PTG 2275-11512].

• EUP member appointed to MCC WCC [PTG 2275-11513].

• ICC approve four-day Test ‘trials’, WTC and ODI league [PTG 2275-11514.

• Somerset threatens legal action if Middlesex points loss is overturned [PTG 2275-11515].

Scorer lone female in womens’ Test officials’ group.

PTG Editor.

Saturday, 14 October 2017.

PTG 2275-11511.

Six of the seven match officials named to manage the one-off womens’ day-night Australia-England Test in Sydney next month, the 50th such game between the two nations, are men, the exception being scorer Kay Wilcoxon.  Cricket Australia (CA) National Umpire Panel (NUP) members Gerard Abood and Geoff Joshua will stand in the match, their NUP colleague Greg Davidson will be the third umpire, Ben Treloar from CA’s third-tier Development Panel the fourth, Steve Bernard a CA and International Cricket Council match referee will oversee the game, and Darren Mattison the second scorer.

Wilcoxon has previously scored in womens’ Ashes Tests played in Bowral and Sydney in 2008 and 2011 respectively, and regularly in CA first class, List A including One Day Internationals (ODI), and Twenty20 fixtures, plus womens’ ODIs.  She is one of numerous female scorers, particularly in New South Wales, who has supported the game at its highest levels in Australia, however, the country’s senior women’s umpire Claire Polosak who has stood in a three-day Under-19 Test and four-day state second XI fixture has been overlooked for a Test spot.

Polosak has though, along with Davidson and fellow NUP member Shawn Craig, been selected to stand in the three Ashes' One Day Internationals (ODI) that will proceed the Test, each standing in two of those games.  CA and international match referee Bob Stratford will oversee the ODIs as match referee.

The records show that since the International Cricket Council (ICC) took over responsibility for the womens’ international game from the long-serving International Womens’ Cricket Council (IWCC) 12 years ago, only two female umpires, one in 2005 and another ten years ago in 2007, have stood in a womens’ Test, all of which were four-day fixtures.  In the ICC's time at the helm, fifteen Womens’ Tests involving five national sides, four of whom were from ICC Full Member entities, have been played.  

England has been involved in twelve, Australia nine, eight of that pair's respective matches being Ashes games, India six, South Africa two and the Netherlands, which is an ICC second-tier member, one.  Absent from the list over the last twelve years are teams from ICC Full Members Bangladesh, New Zealand, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, the West Indies and Zimbabwe.  Of the fifteen Tests, Australia travelled to England for five over four tours (5/4), England to Australia (3/3), India to England (3/2), England to India (1/1), India to Australia (1/1), South Africa to the Netherlands (1/1), and South Africa to India (1/1).

Records available show a total of 30 umpires, all appointed by the match’s home board, have supported the fifteen Tests, 17 from England, eightfrom Australia, four from India and one from the Netherlands; none of the on-field spots involved being filled by neutral officials.  Of those, 14 of the 17 from England were members of the England and Wales Cricket Board’s Full List of first class umpires, while six of the eight Australians and all four Indians were also first class umpires.

Two of the 30 umpires were female: Lorraine Elgar from England in 2005 and Netherlands-born Ingeborg Bevers in 2007, both standing in single matches; although Elgar was on-field in two other Womens’ Tests in pre-ICC days.  Neither Elgar or Bevers have stood at first class level, only two women, Patricia Carrick from New Zealand in 15 games in the period from 1987-90, and Jacqueline Williams of the West Indies in two over the last two years, having done so to date.  Carrick stood in one women’s Test in the pre-ICC period, before that playing in seven from 1968-77. 

Of the eleven scorers whose names are actually included in the fifteen Test score sheets, some unfortunately being missing, five were from Australia, two of whom have also scored in men’s Tests, four from England, and two from the Netherlands.  Nine of the eleven were females: three of the five Australians, all four Englishwomen and both those from the Netherlands.

Information available, which may not be complete, suggests a referee has only been appointed to oversee nine of the fifteen Tests played in the ICC era.  Of the six referees known, four were Australian and one each came from England and India.  Of those the only female was India’s Rajani Venugopal, who prior to becoming a referee, played six Womens’ Tests and 9 Womens’ ODIs in the period from 1984-96, fixtures which were all played under the auspices of the IWCC. 

Polosak: being a trailblazer hasn't always been easy.

Caden Helmers.

Canberra Times.

Saturday, 14 October 2017.

PTG 2275-11512.

Australian umpire Claire Polosak admits being a trailblazer in the game she loves hasn't always been easy.  But, she recently became the first woman to umpire an Australian men's List A cricket match in the domestic one-day cup competition - something "a girl from Goulburn" never expected (PTG 2260-11445, 27 September 2017).

Her journey hasn't always been a smooth one, with the 29-year-old once forced to deal with sexism and negative stereotyping by a male cricket coach in England. She had been regularly umpiring a boys team in England before "all of a sudden" she stopped being told about the games.  It hurt when she found out why - the coach was sick of being told a woman was a better umpire than he was.

"At the time it shook me a little bit. But with resilience and knowing this was something I wanted to do regardless, it kept me working harder towards my end goal”, Polosak said.  "It has not always been easy paving a path. I'm not ashamed to admit I have had low points and battled anxiety before umpiring games because of the self-stigma and pressure I put on myself.  I've had to overcome personal and professional barriers continually... and doing that can affect your mental wellbeing if you don't build the mental muscle”.

Polosak calls it "bounce-backability" - it helps her realise making a mistake while umpiring is "not the end of the world”.  She is the first to admit she loves having a laugh amidst the high-pressure environment of umpiring, saying "if you can't crack a smile or enjoy yourself, you're not in the right profession".

Now Cricket NSW's female umpire engagement officer, Polosak wants to teach that same concept to young umpires, but she knows it can be hard to get youngsters to make the leap into officiating.  But Cricket Australia has already put procedures in place to help through ‘Recovre', a company which specialises in workplace wellbeing programs led by a team of Allied Health and Workplace Health and Safety specialists.

The former high school teacher pushed past all the issues she faced to make history in Australian cricket, but the "trailblazer" tag is still one that she's "slowly getting used to”.  "It's not really my personality to put myself out there in that way”, Polosak said.  "But I do understand the importance of my role and what I've been lucky to achieve, and what I'm doing now with trying to get more females into umpiring.  Trailblazer yes, role model yes, I'm slowly getting used to that term."

Umpiring has given Polosak opportunities "people would give their back teeth for", having dismissed batsmen and called "no-ball" in New Zealand, Thailand, Samoa, India, England and Sri Lanka.  Different countries have thrown up different challenges, but since she's been home in Australia Polosak has felt nothing but support.  

EUP member appointed to MCC WCC.

PTG Editor.

Saturday, 14 October 2017.

PTG 2275-11513.

Sri Lankan umpire Dharmasena is one of four new members appointed to the Marylebone Cricket Club’s (MCC) World Cricket Committee (WCC).  Dharmasena, 46, played 31 Tests and 141 One Day Internationals for his country in an eleven-year international career, before making his umpiring debut on the international stage in 2009 and being promoted to the International Cricket Council’s Elite Umpires Panel (EUP) two years later.  Named the ICC’s 'Umpire of the Year’ in 2012 (PTG 991-4812, 16 September 2012), he has now stood in 151 international matches across all three formats. 

Former England captain Mike Gatting, who will chair a WCC meeting for the first time when it meets in Sydney on 9-10 January, said: “Kumar’s experience as both an umpire and a player will be invaluable and as a member of the [EUP], will have first-hand experience of some of the global issues that are discussed in a committee”.  Dharmasena may well be in Australia before that meeting as a neutral umpire in the last two of Ashes Tests of the series in Melbourne and Sydney (PTG  PTG 2273-11500, 12 October 2017).

The WCC is now made up of Gatting, Dharmasena, Ramiz Raja, Sourav Ganguly, Tim May, former ICC Match Officials’ Manager Vintcent Van der Bijl, John Stephenson, Rod Marsh, Shakib Al Hasan, Brendon McCullum, Kumar Sangakkara, Ricky Ponting, Ian Bishop and Suzie Bates.   The MCC says the WCC’s role is to: debate all matters in the interests of cricket and cricketers; consider at all times the balance of the contest between bat and ball and to assist MCC's custodianship of the Laws of the Game; protect the Spirit of Cricket; and to be sure that governing body decisions never put cash or country interests before the good of the game.

ICC approve four-day Test ‘trials’, WTC and ODI league.

PTG Editor.

Saturday, 14 October 2017.

PTG 2275-11514.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) has given the go-ahead for a trial of four-day Test matches over the next 20 months, thus clearing the way for the mooted day-night Test between South Africa and Zimbabwe in late December to be scheduled for four days (PTG 2256-11421, 23 September 2017).  The ICC has also given “in-principle” approval to the introduction of a nine-team World Test Championship (WTC) series, the first edition of which will run from 2019-21, and a thirteen-team One Day International (ODI) League which will be used to qualify for the World Cup of 2023 (PTG 2270-11486, 9 October 2017).

The Test competition, which will begin after the World Cup in 2019, is designed to increase interest in the longer form of the game and avoid one-sided affairs.  There will be a minimum of two matches in each series - all of which will be scheduled to last five days - but can be expanded to five for series such as the Ashes.  The top two teams will compete in a play-off in April 2021, with a final to be held in England two months later.  

Zimbabwe, Afghanistan and Ireland would initially be excluded from the WTC but the introduction of four-day Tests will give them exposure to Test cricket.  Ireland announced this week it would play its first ever men’s Test against Pakistan next year (PTG 2274-11508, 13 October 2017), the Irish womens’ team playing in a single Test 17 years ago well before the ICC took over responsibility for the womens’ international game (PTG 2275-11511 above), it too being against Pakistan.

A Test league has been mooted for years, with ICC chief executive David Richardson saying in 2016 that a league would help "create a real champion Test team".  Richardson said in announcing both initiatives on Friday: "Throughout the discussions about the future of Test cricket it became clear that we must also consider alternatives and trial initiatives that may support the future viability of Test cricket”.

The seven ODI sides that top the new league will automatically qualify for the World Cup, with a qualifying tournament held for the lower-ranked sides.  The new league would see the thirteen teams play eight series lasting three matches over three years.  "Bringing context to bilateral cricket is not a new challenge, but this is the first time a genuine solution has been agreed on”, added ICC chairman Shashank Manohar.

Somerset threatens legal action if Middlesex points loss is overturned.

Elizabeth Ammon.

The Times.

Friday, 13 October 2017.

PTG 2275-11515.

Somerset will take legal action against the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) should the governing body reverse its decision to deduct points from Middlesex and thereby save the 2016 champions from relegation.  The ECB confirmed on Wednesday that it would consider Middlesex’s appeal against a two-point deduction because of a slow over rate in their match with Surrey, which was abandoned on the final day after a crossbow bolt was fired on to the pitch (PTG 2273-11502, 12 October 2017). 

Lee Cooper, the Somerset chief executive, told county members that they had been assured by the ECB that it was hearing Middlesex’s appeal because “they need to be seen to be going through a process”, but he was concerned about the potential outcome.  Middlesex had been told that there was no appeal process (PTG 2244-11361, 10 September 2017), but the ECB has referred the case to the Cricket Discipline Commission, which is chaired by Tim O’Gorman. The former Derbyshire batsman looked at the case yesterday, but has not decided whether to convene a panel or make the decision himself.

Cooper told members during a question and answer session on Thursday that, in his view, any decision to overturn the points deduction would be “bringing the game into disrepute”. “The implications of overturning the decision are significant — we would be relegated”, he said. “Having fought so hard to survive, a relegation would be unfair. The decision was made and because of that, ours and other teams’ tactics were determined by what we needed to do to stay in Division One”.  Somerset have confirmed that they are preparing a legal case should the points deduction be reversed.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 2,276

Monday, 16 October 2017

 

• CA to investigate farcical finish to one-day match [PTG 2276-11516].

• Teenage umpire allegedly ‘headbutted’ at U-11 match [PTG 2276-11517].

CA to investigate farcical finish to one-day match.

Australian Associated Press.

Monday, 16 October 2017.

PTG 2276-11516.

Cricket Australia (CA) will investigate the abandonment of NSW's one-day match with Victoria on Sunday amid a call to sack the officials involved in the match.  A dangerous pitch, which was declared midway through the second innings of the day, led to the fixture being awarded to Victoria via the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern method.

Officials discussed the issue for more than 90 minutes following the match before match referee Daryl Harper declared Victoria would be awarded a run-rate bonus point.  It prompted an angry response from Cricket NSW chief executive Andrew Jones, who denied conditions had changed so considerably to be deemed unsafe since the NSW batted in the first innings.

CA has also decided against shifting Western Australia's match with the CA XI at North Sydney to an alternate venue following Sunday's abandonment.  "Cricket Australia will conduct a thorough investigation of the circumstances around this abandonment ... and will revert to the teams with those findings”, said a CA spokesman.  "At this stage, a different wicket will be used for the next match on Tuesday and CA will monitor conditions”.

On Sunday, Victoria reached 4/108 after 26 overs in their pursuit of 145 when umpires John Ward and Phillip Gillespie called the game off.  That decision ended NSW's finals hopes and but ensured Victoria will join Western Australia and South Australia in the finals unless Tasmania manage to collect two bonus points in a big win over Queensland on Tuesday.

Jones said via ’Twitter’: "That is a ridiculous decision and the umps should be held accountable.  So pitch was safe when [NSW] batted? Makes no sense. All officials involved should be fired immediately.  It should be a No Result. Conditions didn't change all game so if it was dangerous for one side it was dangerous for the other”.

"This is right up there with declaring BISP (Blacktown International Sports Park) pitch dangerous right after highest batting partnership in history of [first class] cricket”.  Jones was referring to a game between New Zealand and a CA XI two years ago that was abandoned after a record opening stand between Ryan Carters and Aaron Finch (PTG 1676-8226, 31 October 2015).

Teenage umpire allegedly ‘headbutted’ at U-11 match.

Aneeka Simonis.

Melbourne Herald Sun.

Monday, 16 October 2017.

PTG 2276-11517.

A cricket club president has spoken out after a teenager was allegedly assaulted by a senior spectator while umpiring a Western Regional Junior Cricket Association (WRJCA) match on the weekend.   It is claimed the boy was headbutted during the Under-11s match between Sunshine and Caroline Springs junior cricket clubs on the outskirts of Melbourne on Friday night.

Witnesses claimed the umpire was attacked after he told a group of senior spectators they could not drink at the junior game.  Caroline Springs Cricket Club president Steve Collins confirmed the incident.  He wrote on the club’s Facebook page: “During an Under-11 game one of our junior members was assaulted whilst working as an umpire.  This incident is now in the police hands and all members involved and the club are supporting the police with these matters.  We would also like to thank the parents that were present at the incident for remaining calm and ensuring the safety of our junior players”.

There are reports the alleged assailant was a senior player from Sunshine Cricket Club, and that he was allowed to play in a match the following day.

Victoria Police confirmed a 15-year-old boy was assaulted at a cricket ground in Sunshine North on Friday night.  He was taken to hospital as a precaution.  Police have interviewed several witnesses and are yet to make any arrests.  The WRJCA has been contacted for comment.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 2,277

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

 

• No CA sanction for CEO’s match officials criticism [PTG 2277-11518].

• Why the call to abandon North Sydney game was weak [PTG 2277-11519].

• Finding ‘hatred’ key to Ashes win: Aussie vice-captain [PTG 2277-11520].

• WNCL player fined half her match fee for dissent [PTG 2277-11521].

• Batsman bowled but bail does balancing act [PTG 2277-11522].

• Australian players share in $A58 million one-off payment [PTG 2277-11523].

• Lone batsman takes control of scorecard [PTG 2277-11524].

No CA sanction for CEO’s match officials criticism.

Chris Barrett.

Fairfax media.

Tuesday, 17 October 2017.

PTG 2277-11518.

Despite Cricket NSW chief executive officer (CEO) Andrew Jones declaring match officials involved in the decision to abandon a Cricket Australia (CA) one-day day-night game in Sydney on Sunday “should be fired immediately” (PTG 2276-11516, 16 October 2017), CA appears to be backing the call made by match referee Daryl Harper and umpires John Ward and Phillip Gillespie to end the game three-quarters of the way into the match due to the unsafe nature of what is a drop-in pitch.  CA has ruled out any avenue of appeal against Victoria’s Duckworth-Lewis-Stern win and the bonus point they were awarded.

Jones, a former CA head of strategy, will escape an official rebuke from the governing body over a series of comments on social media on Sunday night about how events unfolded at the North Sydney ground. Such an outburst from a player or coach would almost certainly result in them being sanctioned, but CA indicated there was no code of conduct covering state chief executives and that they were answerable to their board.

NSW batsman Daniel Hughes agreed his side had paid the price for the speed of their pace bowling contingent, which included Test quicks Starc and Cummins and an express Doug Bollinger.  "A hundred per cent it did”, said Hughes. "Doug bowled as fast as I've seen him bowl [on Sunday] night under lights and we've got [Cummins and Starc] as well”.

Hughes went on to disagreed with his chief executive — arguing there was a duty of care for the players which was followed.  He explained that the 90-minute discussion between players and officials which took place in the middle of ground after the match was ended was not in relation to the abandonment itself.  Rather it was on how the result would impact bonus points and net run rates — and how it would impact their position on the ladder.  As a result Victoria ended their one-day season in third position on 15 points, and thus qualified for the finals, while NSW finished on 14 and missed out.

Victoria seamer Chris Tremain said the umpires stopped the match because of a troublesome patch on the pitch that bowlers were hitting as they ran in from the city end. However, their concerns had "definitely come out of the blue" for players midway through Victoria's innings.  "I'm not exactly sure how long they'd been talking about it for”, Tremain said. "But I guess the saving grace was that when it was hitting that spot early on it was hitting it and bouncing quite slow, so even if it was striking the body it wasn't striking it at great pace".

"But as the sun went down and got a bit of dew on it it was a bit faster, then it did start to spit up a bit harder. We were certainly happy to take it on. The issue would have been if Mitchell Starc or Pat Cummins were coming around the wicket bowling at the speeds they do and getting it to spit, at an even greater pace, was there a significant danger there? I think the officials believe there was”.

It’s understood umpires made their call after counting four or five balls jumping dangerously at Victorian batsmen in a three over period, as well as noting four visits out to the middle by the Bushrangers’ physio in the 20 minutes before play was abandoned.

Western Australia and the Cricket Australia XI will contest another match in CA’s one-day series at North Sydney on Tuesday, however, that game will be played on a different pitch.  The ground is to also host the one-off day-night womens’ Ashes Test next month.

Why the call to abandon North Sydney game was weak.

Will Swanton.

The Australian.

Tuesday, 17 October 2017.

PTG 2277-11519.

It’s going to be a long and laborious summer if umpires start calling stumps whenever a fast bowler does what he is paid to do: stick it up ’em. Protect the batsmen? Victoria’s Seb Gotch and Blake Thomson were ruggedly and expertly navigating their way through an unbroken 42-run partnership when the umpires at North Sydney Oval cried, stop! You might get hurt! The decision was extraordinarily frustrating because it was so unbelievably soft (PTG 2277-11518 above). 

We haven’t forgotten Phillip Hughes. We’ve seen and been saddened by the worst-case scenario from a blow to the head; we’re still sickened by the memory of Hughes receiving the great unplayable one on 63 no at the Sydney Cricket Ground.  But let’s do what Hughes used to do and call a spade a spade: the sport has been largely unchanged by the incident. Batsmen have kept on batting. Fast bowlers have kept on trying to intimidate them. Crowds still bay for blood.

The quicks use throat balls. Head-hunters. Whatever you want to call them. They tell batsmen they’re piss-weak if they flinch. They unashamedly make the most of conditions on the rare occasions they receive a pitch with more green in it than a Test cap; a pitch with the sort of cracks they spied at North Sydney Oval on Sunday night. Post-Hughes, they’re just as eager to knock a few blocks off. It has always been this way, and it always will be. ­Hughes loved the rumble more than most.

Batsmen know their craft ain’t guaranteed to be easy when they waddle to a pitch, any pitch, wearing pads and guards to protect their legs, thighs, elbows, crown jewels, fingers, hands and head. If a paceman strikes him on the fingers, good. If he strikes him on the fingers with consecutive deliveries, even better. Peter Handscomb copped one on the shoulder from Mitchell Starc on Sunday night. Get that up ya! Sympathy was nil, as it should have been.

Surviving difficult spells on a variable track is the essence of high-quality batting. Physical courage is a core attribute. Gotch and Thomson were not a danger to themselves, they were proving themselves.

Only 26 overs had passed since NSW number eleven batsman Doug Bollinger, not a noted slayer of the bowling, made 30 from 34 balls on a pitch that was soon to be dismissed as unsafe. Extraordinary, because at no stage of the match did onlookers think, for even a split second, that the track was unfairly difficult let alone so dangerous that Gotch (25no) and Thomson (17no) had to be spared the horrors of facing another delivery.

It was hard work, ball-dominated, but Victoria were an innocuous 4/108 when the umpires staged their intervention. It was hardly a scoreline that read like a bloodbath when Gotch faced two deliveries from Sean Abbott that reared off a good length. They were brutal and exceptional deliveries, but far from unplayable.  The first struck high on Gotch’s bat. The second hit his fingers. And that, incredibly, was stumps as players milled around and the ground announcer abruptly declared, “Ladies and gentlemen, the match has been abandoned”.

Cricket Australia is investigating. So it should. Cricket NSW boss Andrew Jones quite rightly says heads should roll among officialdom (PTG 2276-11516, 16 October 2017). At the ground, it felt like a legitimate farce. A wicket had not fallen for 11 overs. The Vics had scored at four and a bit runs per over for 26 overs.  No players or coaches were ­allowed to do the normal routine of post-match press conferences, which meant there was no explanation from anyone in the middle or the know. No man of the match award was presented. Nothing.

It was a low-scoring game on a fast bowler’s paradise. Good. The Blues had scrambled to 144. There was mid-innings talk of “a hole in the pitch” but Victorian opener Matt Short (43 from 50 balls) had batted with aplomb. We couldn’t see “the hole in the pitch” after stumps because the strip was covered like it was a crime scene.  If we correctly read Gotch’s body language when the game was called off, he was absolutely disbelieving at being sent back to the pavilion before he was dismissed or had the chance to hit the winning runs.

The 24-year-old Gotch was midway through an innings against Starc, Cummins, Abbott and Bollinger that could have been the making of him on Sunday night. The view from the hill was this — instead of being saved by the umpires, he was robbed by them.

Finding ‘hatred’ key to Ashes win: Aussie vice-captain.

PTG Editor.

Monday, 16 October 2017.

PTG 2277-11520.

Australian vice-captain David Warner says his side must dig within themselves to find a "hatred" for England when the five-Test Ashes series begins at the Gabba next month, according to an article by Fairfax Media journalist Chris Barrett on Sunday.  Warner’s reported comments about the coming Tests have the hallmark of a Cricket Australia marketing exercise, and follow not dissimilar utterances by Australian fast bowlers Pat Cummins and Mitchell Strak over the past week.

Speaking on ABC `Radio’s ‘Grandstand’ program on the weekend, Warner said of Australia's most celebrated Test rivalry: "As soon as you step on that line it's war.  You try and get into a battle as quick as you can. I try and look in the opposition's eye and try and work out 'how can I dislike this player, how can I get on top of him?' You've really got to find that spark in yourself to really take it to the opposition.   You have to delve and dig deep into yourself to actually get some hatred about them to actually get up when you're out there. History is a big part in this and that is what carries us onto the ground”.

WNCL player fined half her match fee for dissent.

PTG Editor.

Monday, 16 October 2017.

PTG 2277-11521.

Queensland’s Jess Jonassen has been fined half her match fee for showing dissent at an umpire’s decision during her side’s Women’s National Cricket League (MNCL) match against New South Wales at Blacktown International Sports Park in Sydney two Fridays ago.  Cricket Australia says what was a Level One offence was committed during Queensland’s innings when Jonassen was given out LBW.

 

Match referee Tim Donahoo considered the report from umpires Mark Nickl and Glen Stubbings and proposed the 50 per cent match fee censure which Jonassen, 24, accepted and no hearing was required.  It was Jonassen’s second offence in the past 18 months.  Last October the Queensland all-rounder was reprimanded for "abuse of cricket equipment or clothing, ground equipment or fixtures and fittings" during a WNCL match against South Australia (PTG 1952-9824, 20 October 2016). 

Batsman bowled but bail does balancing act.

Northern Star Daily.

Monday, 16 October 2017.

PTG 2277-11522.

The players all agreed it was a great wicket but what happened next astounded everyone after a batsman was clean bowled during a match on Queensland's Sunshine Coast on Sunday.  The image shows the batsman taking off his gloves and departing as bowler Damien Smith is congratulated by his teammates.  However, the ball that just beat the batsman glanced his wicket, dislodging one bail and somehow shuttling the other onto the middle stump where it remained.  The second bail lies near the base of the stumps.

 

 

Australian players share in $A58 million one-off payment.

Chris Barrett and Phil Lutton.

Fairfax media.

Tuesday, 17 October 2017.

PTG 2277-11523.

Australian players have deeper pockets this week after the payout of a $A58.5 million (£UK34.7 m) adjustment ledger from Cricket Australia (CA) that was a major point of conflict during this year's bitter pay dispute with the governing body (PTG 2221-11256, 4 August 2017).  Male players who featured in international and domestic cricket between 2012 and this year received a share of the funds on a pro-rata basis under the terms of the last Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between CA and the Australian Cricketers’ Association (ACA).

The result was a significant one-off pay day not only for current top-rated players of the Australian team such as captain Steve Smith and vice-captain David Warner but past internationals like Shane Watson, Michael Clarke and Mitchell Johnson, who also figured prominently across formats during the course of the last deal.  The adjustment ledger is not a bonus. Players were entitled to it as their percentage share of the game's revenue above forecast over the previous five years. 

It became a hugely contentious issue during the dispute with CA this year, however, when the governing body proposed to roll over half of the ledger – about $A29 m ( £UK17.2 m) – to the next five-year period rather than pay them out in full.

As cricketers were left out of contract after 30 June, the ACA argued that it was the group which played in the five years from 2012 that were owed the money. However, when a peace agreement was finally thrashed out in August, their demand was met as they retained a share of the game's revenue under what CA branded a modernised pay model.

While former players are understood to have received a direct payment in the past week, players from 2012 to 2017 who are still contracted to CA, the states and Big Bash League franchises, had 70 per cent of their slice placed in a retirement fund with the remaining 30 per cent paid straight into their bank accounts.  Under the heads of agreement struck for the new CA-ACA MoU, all male and female international and domestic players will in 2022 again get a cut of revenue above forecast from the preceding five years. 

Lone batsman takes control of scorecard.

Tyson Otto.

News Limited.

Monday, 16 October 2017.

PTG 2277-11524.

Its been described as 34 overs of mayhem. But that description doesn’t do a batsman in a B-Grade Port Augusta Cricket Association game in South Australia’s display on the weekend justice. Not by a long stretch.  

Josh Dunstan, who was batting at first drop for West Augusta in their game against Central-Stirling, walked to the crease with his side on 1/10, then proceeded to plunder 307 runs in his team’s total of 9/354 from their allotted 35 overs.

Dunstan, who scored 86.7 per cent of his team’s total, hit 40 sixes and nine fours.  The scorecard shows Dunstan played his part in an seventh wicket stand of 213 runs, where his teammate contributed just 18 runs, however, it also shows Dunstan’s partner knocked around plenty of singles.

 

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 2,278

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

 

• Simple game turned on its head by ratbags and drongos [PTG 2278-11525].

• Middlesex unsuccessful with 'crossbow' points deduction appeal [PTG 2278-11526].

• Langer frustrated over North Sydney pitch farce [PTG 2278-11527].

• Court upholds Sreesanth’s life ban [PTG 2278-11528].

• Broadcaster’s apparent revival is good news for CA [PTG 2278-11529].

Simple game turned on its head by ratbags and drongos.

Patrick Smith.

The Australian.

Wednesday, 18 October 2017.

PTG 2278-11525.

Australians find cricket a simple game. The sport possesses no nuances. You bowl the ball, you hit the ball and, wherever possible, try to catch it if you are in the field.  If you can get your head around all that and are good enough then you’re pretty well ready to step straight into Test cricket. And that’s a nice little earner when you get there. You could pocket, with bits and pieces thrown in, about $A1.5 million (£UK892,350) a year.

There are only a few bits that could be considered bordering on the tricky. You need to score more runs than the opposition. Best you try to remember that. Because it seems quite significant. Anyway, that’s a plank of the formula for Australians’ success. It has been the driver to this country’s domination of the game around the world: we are currently ranked fifth in Test cricket, third in limited over fare and sixth in T20. We like to call that an obliteration of all ­opposition.

Then along comes big mouth, big bat, big hitter Aussie vice-captain David Warner who has said previously he will keep his mouth shut. Keep it closed, that is. But somewhere recently a strongman has jemmied it open. The Australians will be motivated by a “hatred” of the England players. That should settle things down.  He told ABC ‘Grandstand' it is all about getting on top of the opposition batsmen. “As soon as you step on that line, it’s war”, Warner said. “You try and get into a battle as quick as you can. I try and look in the opposition’s eyes and try and work out: ‘How can I dislike this player? How can I get on top of him?’” (PTG 2277-11520, 17 October 2017).

Former England captain Ted Dexter once spoke at length about his views on the spirit of cricket, summarising it with: “The general atmosphere in cricket as a whole is determined by the cricket at the top, Test match cricket”.  The juxtaposition between Warner’s apparent approach to the game and incidents such as last week’s news that a 15-year-old umpire had been assaulted in an Under-11 game in Melbourne is food for much thought for Cricket Australia, and, provided that organisation's marketing plans allow it - action (PTG 2276-11517, 16 October 2017).

But that is cricket in 2017. Where teams have more scientists, general analysts, batting analysts, bowling analysts, analysts’ analysts, bowling coaches, batting coaches, fielding coaches, media coaches and coach drivers yet they come up with the most banal tactics. Hit ‘em on the head. Scar’em. Sledge’em. And just hate’em. I checked former England captain Mike Brearley’s coaching book to see if his thoughts line up that way too. Nup. No chapter on that. But there is one on ratbags and drongos.

Middlesex unsuccessful with 'crossbow' points deduction appeal.

BBC Radio.

Tuesday, 17 October 2017.

PTG 2278-11526.

Middlesex have failed in their appeal against a two-point deduction in the County Championship, confirming their relegation from Division One (PTG 2273-11502, 12 October 2017).  The punishment came for their slow over rate during August's match at Surrey, which was abandoned when a crossbow bolt was fired into The Oval (PTG 2238-11329, 4 September 2017).  Middlesex finished one point below Somerset, who were ready to take legal action if the appeal was successful.

The England and Wales Cricket Board’s (ECB) Cricket Discipline Commission (CDC) ruled that the matter did not need referring to a disciplinary panel hearing as "rules relating to over rates are clear and understood by all teams, coaches, players, and captains”.  CDC chairman Tim O'Gorman said: "Middlesex have sought to argue that it was only because of the abandonment of the game that they did not make up their overs, but that cannot be entirely correct.  There was no guarantee that, if the game had run its normal course, those overs could ever have been made up”.

O’Gorman said the CDC did "not accept that Middlesex only agreed to the abandonment of the match on condition that their slow over rate in the first innings would be overlooked.   It is not within the power or gift of either the umpires or the players to make deals like that. The match was abandoned for safety reasons. Play ended accordingly and the points earned or deducted should stand with effect from that time”.

Confirming that his county would not be taking the matter any further, chief executive Richard Goatley told Middlesex's website: "Whilst we still believe the imposition of the penalty was unjust, we accept the decision of the Chairman of the CDC and will move on.  We do not believe that any further action is in the interests of Middlesex or the wider game. We will now focus on regaining a place in the 1st Division at the earliest opportunity”.

Somerset counterpart Lee Cooper said in a statement that his club were always "confident that the ECB's original decision would stand" and were delighted with the outcome (PTG 2275-11515, 14 October 2017).  "We are pleased that this has now been put to rest and we can concentrate on preparing for next season”, he added.

Langer frustrated over North Sydney pitch farce.

Ben Horne.

Sydney Daily Telegraph.

Wednesday, 18 October 2017.

PTG 2278-11527.

Former Australian batsman Langer admits he can’t speak to whether or not the pitch that resulted in a NSW-Victoria one-day match being abandoned on Sunday was “dangerous”, but he’s sceptical of it being just another instance of the warrior elements of batting and the skill of bowlers being wiped out (PTG 2276-11516, 16 October 2017).

Langer said: “It seemed really strange. They played, what, 69 overs and then called it? I’ve said this for a very long time — all cricket can’t be played on really flat wickets.  If you look at most of the results just in this tournament, most of them have been 250 to 300- run games.  There’s got to be something there for the bowlers. I actually think it makes for entertaining cricket where it’s an even contest”.

Umpires reportedly made the call to abandon the match after a series of short balls late in the piece jumped off a particularly nasty patch on the pitch that bowlers from both teams had been targeting all day.  Langer doesn’t see that as dangerous practice by bowlers, but rather smart tactics that should be rewarded by a game that now seems to have every advantage stacked in favour of the batter.

“I’ve heard theories that bowlers were targeting one specific area but that’s bloody good cricket”, Langer said.  “Bowlers bowling into rough — it’s like [spin] bowlers bowling into rough on the subcontinent.   If bowlers are good enough to do that then to me, that’s really clever cricket. I wasn’t here. I didn’t see it. I heard about it obviously — it was disappointing”.

Langer’s frustration mirrors many in the game who are upset the characteristics of iconic pitches like the SCG, the WACA and Adelaide Oval have been lost over the years, with pitches becoming almost uniform across the country.  In the opinion of many former players, Australia’s disastrous record overseas has been contributed to by batsmen not being exposed to tough conditions at home soil that can prepare them mentally and physically for variables like subcontinental spin or UK swing.

Court upholds Sreesanth’s life ban.

Gladwin Emmanuel.

Mumbai Mirror.

Wednesday, 18 October 2017.

PTG 2278-11528.

Kerala's High Court on Tuesday upheld the life-ban imposed on former Indian bowler Shanthakumaran Sreesanth by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), in the wake of the 2013 Indian Premier League spot-fixing scandal (PTG 1188-5731, 15 September 2013).  The BCCI had appealed against a single judge's bench order lifting the life-ban in August, insisting that even though criminal charges against the player had dropped, he would remain banned for breaching the BCCI's Code of Conduct regulations (PTG 2228–11290, 13 August 2017).

Broadcaster’s apparent revival is good news for CA.

Robert Craddock.

Brisbane Courier-Mail.

Wednesday, 18 October 2017.

PTG 2278-11529.

Only four months after it was feared Australian broadcaster Channel 10, which currently holds the rights to Cricket Australia’s (CA) Big Bash League (BBL), may have been on the verge of drawing its last breath, but the station is now precisely where CA wants it … on its feet throwing punches (PTG 2163-10973, 14 June 2017).

CA does not necessarily need Ten to retain the BBL in the face of a major bid from Channel 9 who want everything, but it desperately needs another robust free-to-air bidder to force the price up.  Even when it was clear the price of BBL rights was worth more than the fading value of Ten after it was placed in voluntary administration in June, Ten executives were talking up the prospects of retaining the Twenty20 ratings juggernaut.  But the bravado seemed hollow given the station’s parlous financial predicament and CA’s own rightful concerns about its future.

With United States' media giant CBS now on the verge of becoming Ten’s new owners, the channel now has the ability to snap the ball and chain from its previous debts and be a lively competitor in the cricket rights, expected to be settled in the next six months.

While Nine understandably is hoping to have the rights settled as quickly as possible in the hope that Ten could still be financially off-balance, negotiations cannot go slow enough for Ten for every passing week gives it a chance to feel the new blood of its wealthy owners coursing through the company.  Fox Sports is also in the hunt for rights and may yet prove king maker if it agrees to joint deals in the way it has in other Australian sporting codes.

In the last five-year rights deal Ten paid a “bargain of the century’’ $A20 million (£UK11.9 m) a year for the Big Bash with Nine paying a whopping $A95 million a year for the international rights.  The BBL, with average audiences of one million a game plus an expanded schedule, is likely to expand to at least $A50 million a year but the Test rights could contract.

With Nine losing $A30-40 m (£UK17.8-27.8 m) a year on its Test coverage last year following a fierce bidding war that almost saw Ten get the rights for everything, there is a realisation that the Test match game is in decline and the rights could be up to $A20 m (£UK11.9 m) a year less this time.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 2,279

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

(Second edition)

 

• NZ company ‘CricHQ' placed in receivership [PTG 2279-11530].

• Fourth Umpire Coach being eyed by ICC [PTG 2279-11531].

• Host counties to receive more money in ECB ‘city’ T20 [PTG 2279-11532].

• Kiwi looking after drop-in pitches for London Olympic Stadium [PTG 2279-11533].

NZ company ‘CricHQ' placed in receivership.

Hamish Rutherford.

Wednesday, 18 October 2017.

PTG 2279-11530.

A Wellington cricket technology company which has raised more than $NZ20 million ($A18.3 m, £UK10.9 m) and won endorsements from some of the sport's best-known players has been placed in receivership.  ‘CricHQ', which is chaired by former Saatchi and Saatchi executive chairman Kevin Roberts, has appointed insolvency experts at KordaMentha to run the company in an attempt to find a buyer.   The company has 22 staff in Wellington as well as subsidiaries in the UK and India, a previous report indicating 80-90 people in the latter country are on its books (PTG 1922-9659, 12 September 2017).

Founded by Simon Baker, the former captain of a Cricket Wellington club, seven years ago and now used throughout New Zealand (PTG 1069-5199, 1 March 2013), ‘CricHQ' claimed to record one in every ten balls in organised cricket worldwide, through an app-based mobile scoring platform.  More recently the company moved into producing cricket content and competition management.  It also owns the Total Cricket Scorer program (PTG 2268-11482, 6 October 2017).  Amongst its shareholders are former New Zealand captains Brendon McCullum and Stephen Fleming, former Australian player Michael Hussey and South Africa captain Faf Du Plessis.

‘CricHQ' had won major financial backing before. In June 2015 it was revealed that Singapore-based private equity firm Tembusu Partners was investing up to $US10 million ($A12.7 m, £UK7.6 m) (PTG 1571-7552, 19 June 2015).  But despite repeatedly talking up its prospects, the company has failed to deliver on a plan to raise another $US10 million to enable further develop of its operations.

In September 2016 then chairman Mike Loftus said the company hoped to have the funding secured "by Christmas" of that year and was in talks with investment bankers on both sides of the Atlantic.  An investment statement shared with potential investors at the time valued the company at $US70 m ($A89 m, £UK53 m), despite the company being set to make a loss of more than $US4 m ($A5.1 m, £UK3 m).

In December, when Roberts was announced as the company's new chairman, the company said he would focus on large deals and was bringing a "seven figure" investment into the company.  Roberts said the board supported the receivership "in the circumstances”.  "I have been involved with ‘CricHQ' for only ten months, and have been disappointed that we were unable to successfully monetise our much used and respected platform”, Roberts said in a statement.  "Despite innovation, technical development and new business wins, the company has been unable to attract sufficient investment capital to fund its accelerating growth."

According to Roberts "CricHQ has been – and continues to be – in discussion with a number of global cricket stakeholders but the deal-making process has been complicated by the rapidly changing market, and today the cash-flow demands of the pace have exceeded the company's capacity to progress”.   Receiver Neale Jackson, a partner at KordaMentha, said ‘CricHQ' "has effectively exhausted its options to secure its working capital needs”.  "We are currently assessing the options that are available to optimise the value of CricHQ's assets”.

'New Zealand Herald’ journalist David Leggat says cricket clubs around that country are facing "a chaotic start to the season" in the wake of CricHQ’s problems.  Many clubs there use the system for organising registrations, doing live scoring and provide information on player statistics and team competitions. New Zealand Cricket (NZC) said on Wednesday it is in a holding pattern until it can talk to the receivers.  'We're not sure what it means short and medium term and we're seeking with urgency discussions with the appointed receivers to discuss the situation”, said NZC spokesman Richard Boock.

NZC sent out a short message to all registered cricketers in the country last night saying: "We are acutely aware of the importance of the ‘CricHQ' system to the management and delivery of cricket, and we will continue to seek, with urgency, discussions with the appointed receiver to clarify the situation”.  New Zealand's six major associations, district associations, women's, junior and club cricket are all supplied the system. Essentially it is an aid for amateur and community cricket with professional organisations generally having their own systems in place.  "It has widespread uses and applications throughout the community game in New Zealand”, Boock added.

Also used in Sri Lanka, ‘CricHQ' was also introduced into Trinidad and Tobago earlier this year (PTG 2032-10291, 27 January 2017) and South Africa two years ago (PTG 1676-8228, 31 October 2015).  

Abhiskel Desai, founder of rival digital platform CricHeroes was quick to comment on the troubles of CricHQ.  He said on ’Twitter’:  "Even though we are competing at some level, I must say CricHQ built some good products. It's sad that it couldn't succeed as business”.

Fourth Umpire Coach being eyed by ICC.

PTG Editor

Wednesday, 18 October 2017.

PTG 2279-11531.

A number of independent reports indicate the International Cricket Council (ICC) is currently looking at engaging a fourth Umpire Coach to join the original and current members of the world body’s coaching group: Englishmen Denis Burns, Australian David Levens and Sri Lankan Peter Manuel.  While there are claims recruitment action is underway, so far a vacancy for such a position does not appear to have been made public.

The ICC established its Umpire Coach group in 2013 under its then Performance and Training Manager Simon Taufel.  The original aim is understood to have been to recruit four members, however, possibly due to budgetary restraints only three were appointed (PTG 1133-5498, 28 June 2013).  

Under the arrangements that then applied Taufel had, in addition to the overall management of his unit, responsibility for related activities in India, while Burns was assigned the United Kingdom, Zimbabwe and South Africa, Levens Australia, New Zealand and the West Indies, and Manuel Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.  The appointment of a fourth coach is likely to see at least some rearrangement of those assignments, arrangements depending on just which part of the world anyone who is recruited comes from.

Host counties to receive more money in ECB ‘city’ T20.

Elizabeth Ammon.

The Times.

Wednesday, 18 October 2017.

PTG 2279-11532.

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) faces a further battle over the implementation of the new eight-team Twenty20 city competition, with a legal agreement issued to the 18 first-class counties and Marylebone Cricket Club setting out a proposed change to the amount they will receive for becoming a host venue (PTG 2215-11205, 28 July 2017).

Initially, it was agreed counties would receive £UK75,000 ($A126,015) per match as a staging fee and could keep any profit from catering and hospitality, but all ticket money would be kept by the ECB. However, some of the counties that host Test matches argued that this was well below the amount they would budget for hosting a T20 match. There would therefore be no incentive to bid to be a host county given that they would effectively be evicted for a 38-day period during which they would have to find other grounds to host one-day cup and second-team matches.

To ensure the ECB receives bids from counties when it kicks off the tender process this year, it has changed its proposal to allow host venues to receive £UK37,500 ($A63,005) per match plus 30 per cent of ticket sales which could, if the competition is a success, be close to £UK150,000 ($A252,030) per match.  It means the smaller counties, who cannot bid to be a host venue because their grounds are not big enough, will receive less money than the Test-match counties.

There may be strong objections that this goes against the original intention of the 19 stakeholders, that they would broadly receive the same profit from the competition. This is an agreed £UK1.3 m ($A2.2 m) a year for the first five years of the competition, with the rest of the revenue held by the governing body and either put into participation projects or back into the running of the competition.  After 2024, counties will lose their guaranteed profit but will be entitled to a 19th of the “annual net revenues minus 10 per cent for the participation programs” until the competition ceases to exist.

Kiwi looking after drop-in pitches for London Olympic Stadium.

Andrew Alderson

New Zealand Herald.

Wednesday, 18 October 2017.

PTG 2279-11533.

Former Eden Park head groundsman Mark Perham has been tasked with ensuring a portable cricket pitch and temporary outfield is installed at the London Olympic Stadium for the 2019 World Cup. The stadium could also be used in England's revamped city-based Twenty20 competition, due to start in 2020 (PTG 2145-10886, 25May 2017).

The venue is home to Premier League football club West Ham and scheduled to be available for a week during the 2019 World Cup’s June-July window. A day-night match is likely to be played on a Friday, followed by a day fixture on a Sunday. Drop-in pitches are yet to be used for international cricket in England.

The 2012 Games arena's capacity is expected to be around 60,000, meaning it could increase sales budgets and reduce operating costs through economies of scale. The International Cricket Council runs the tournament, but the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) collects the ticket revenue. It has been estimated the ECB could haul in up to £UK20 million ($A33.6 m) from the exercise; £UK2 m ($A3.4 m) being set aside to develop the project.

The World Cup’s India-Pakistan and Australia-England matches are likely targets in what looms as a "festival of cricket" across London, with Lord's and The Oval also official World Cup venues.

Perham left his Eden Park job at the end of the 2012-13 season and now runs Field Turf New Zealand, with 19 staff who contract to sports grounds in New Zealand and overseas.  Part of his cricket groundsman reputation was as a pioneer for portable pitches, which were regularly used at Eden Park during his tenure. He has been charged with preparing three such wickets at Loughborough University in England's East Midlands for transport to London.

"They will go to the stadium next year for a trial”, said Perham, who has made four trips to Britain within the last year as part of the preparation.  "[The organisers] won't go into the World Cup without playing on them. They want to reduce [the traditional pitch] square size and have pitches close to the centre of the ground. We will also turf over the [athletics] track”.

Perham also oversaw the drop-in strips used in Sachin Tendulkar and Shane Warne's cricket all-stars series at Major League baseball parks in New York, Los Angeles and Houston in November 2015 (PTG 1575-7571, 24 June 2015).

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 2,280

Thursday, 19 October 2017

 

• NSW CEO reprimanded, provisionally fined, for umpire outburst [PTG 2280-11534].

• Another ‘Mankad’, yet another unnecessary controversy [PTG 2280-11535].

• National skipper banned for three games for ‘unsportsmanlike’ act [PTG 2280-11536].

• Afghan match officials prepare for first class debuts [PTG 2280-11537].

• First class milestones for Aussie umpires [PTG 2280-11538].

NSW CEO reprimanded, provisionally fined, for umpire outburst.

Ben Horne.

Sydney Daily Telegraph.

Thursday, 19 October 2017.

PTG 2280-11534.

Cricket Australia (CA) has been forced to backflip on an original decision not to punish NSW chief executive officer (CEO) Andrew Jones for calling on umpires to be sacked for abandoning NSW’s one-day match against Victoria on Sunday night over an "unsafe” pitch.  Jones has now been charged with making comments “detrimental” to the interests of cricket and has accepted a reprimand and a $A3,000 (£UK1,785) suspended fine that is subject to him not being found guilty of any further breach of CA's Code of Conduct (CoC) over the next two years.

The punishment is far from extraordinary, except for the fact it came 48 hours after CA had stated that there was nothing in their CoC to punish state chief executives for questioning match officials (PTG 2277-11518, 17 October 2017). Sources say that some players have made clear their concerns over the inconsistencies of a Code that appeared to hold cricketers accountable for dissent but not State officials.  

The episode was brought to a close on Wednesday night after CA admitted to misreading their own code before taking action against Jones.  CA said in a statement New South Welshman was reported, by whom is not clear, for a CoC offence that relates to: "Public or media comment that is detrimental to the interests of cricket, irrespective of when or where such comment is made”.  Players and support personnel are required to adhere to the CoC, including "any person employed by, contracted to, representing or otherwise affiliated to CA or any State or Territory Association or [T20 franchise] team". Jones admitted the offence and accepted the proposed sanction and no hearing was required.

CA has seven days to lodge all CoC charges and were only informed on Tuesday that the NSW Board weren’t planning to take any action against their chief executive.  There has been no indication as yet as to what the status of CA’s investigation into the abandonment of Sunday’s one-day game is, or whether its findings will be made public (PTG 2276-11516, 16 October 2017).

Another ‘Mankad’, yet another unnecessary controversy

Umar Farooq.

Cricinfo.

Thursday, 19 October 2017.

PTG 2280-11535.

Pakistan’s Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) side needed four runs to win their Quaid-e-Azam Trophy first class match outright against Peshawar in Abbottabad on Wednesday, and their opponents one wicket, the game being delicately poised on its fourth day.  Then Peshawar fast bowler Taj Wali ‘Mankaded’ non-striker Mohammad Irfan, who had casually taken a step from his crease while the bowler was about to deliver, and on appeal and after consultation umpires Ahmed Shahab and Faisal Afridi had no option but to give Irfan out.

Shahab and Afridi asked the fielding side if they wanted to rethink their appeal, something that is not required by the Laws. They didn't, and Peshawar won by three runs - a rare win for a regional side over a department one, and, in this case, no less than the tournament's defending champions.

Like so many before him, WAPDA's captain Salman Butt questioned the spirit of the act, saying: "What's the point of this Law when the winning team isn't proud and ashamed instead? We had a great game, fully competitive throughout four days, which saw both teams' fortunes fluctuate. And suddenly this Mankading spoiled it. Sportsman spirit should have been the top priority but the game didn't end in a proper way. What's the point of this Law when the opponent team despite winning apologises to us?"

International Cricket Council playing regulations, which are mirrored in Pakistan domestic cricket and are now part of the new Laws code (PTG 2067-10462, 7 March 2017), show the dismissal was clearly fair. They read: "The bowler is permitted, before releasing the ball and provided he has not completed his usual delivery swing, to attempt to run out the non-striker. Whether the attempt is successful or not, the ball shall not count as one of the over. If the bowler fails in an attempt to run out the non-striker, the umpire shall call and signal dead ball as soon as possible”.

The Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), the guardians of the game’s Laws, have repeatedly stressed over the last few years that so-called Mankading does not involved a breach of either the ‘Spirit’ of the game or the Laws (PTG 1755-8757, 5 February 2016).  To emphasise that the MCC changed the title of the applicable Law in the new Code to ”Non-striker leaving his/her ground early”, a move that it said was made in “order to put the onus on the non-striker to remain in his/her ground”.

Ten days ago in a Victorian Premier League third grade match between Footscray and Prahan, a bowler who happened to be the son of former Australian player Merv Hughes, 'Mankaded’ Prahan’s Nick Stone, a wicket that resulted in a five-run victory for Footscray.  Media reports had Footscray First XI captain Dylan Kight saying the wicket would "spark debate”.  "The worst thing about the whole situation is the umpire gave it out, but then he turned and asked [Footscray’s] captain whether he wanted to stick with the appeal or withdrawal the appeal.  As far as the laws go, it’s just a grey area [sic], so they’ve put the heat on the captain. In the split-second he decided to stick with the appeal”.

National skipper banned for three games for ‘unsportsmanlike’ act.

Muscat Daily.

Wednesday, 18 October 2017.

PTG 2280-11536.

Sultan Ahmed, the captain and wicketkeeper-batsman of Oman's national team as well as the country’s Passage to India (PTI) club side, has been given a three-match ban by the sultanate's governing body, for an “unsportsmanlike act” during an Oman Premier Division match two weeks ago.  Ahmed appealed for a leg-before decision against an Al Turki batsman and then for hit-wicket, but video available shows that while appealing he himself dislodged the batsman’s bails with his foot and sought the hit-wicket decision which was given by “confused” umpires Anantha Rajamani at the bowler’s end and Azad Kumar at square leg. 

 

 

A video grab of the incident that led to Ahmed’s three-match ban.

The video went viral in domestic circles and embarrassed officials at Oman Cricket (OC) who recently had to ban another player for life after he “punched” an umpire during a domestic league match (PTG 2272-11494, 11 October 2017).  OC says Ahmed’s action is a Level Two offence and that his sanction became effective last Saturday.  It means that the Pakistan-born cricketer will be eligible for the trials and selection for the national team which is due to play in a World Cricket League Division 2 tournament in Namibia in February.

K K Mohandas, PTI's owner, said: “We had taken our own decision before Oman Cricket's decision on Tuesday and stopped him from playing [for us]. After the incident, he did not play in our next match. The act definitely was not expected and he has realised it. He has personally apologised to all his teammates”.

Afghan match officials prepare for first class debuts.

PTG Editor.

Thursday, 19 October 2017.

PTG 2280-11537.

Afghanistan will quadruple its compliment of first class umpires and referees over the next two weeks when the first four matches in its inaugural domestic first class series, the Alokozay Ahmad Shah Abdali tournament, gets under way in the capital Kabul and the city of Jalalabad 180 km to the east close to the Pakistan border.   Last October, the International Cricket Council (ICC) gave Afghanistan’s top competitions first class and List A status, and as a result a number of umpires, referees and scorers there made their debuts at the latter level last month (PTG 2269-11485, 8 October 2017).

Five teams representing the Amo, Band-e-Amir, Boost, Mis Ainak and Speen Ghar regions of the country, are to play a total of twenty four-day first class games, the first two of which are to get underway on Friday, leading up the the competition’s final in late December.  Eleven of the twenty-one games, including the final, are to be played in Jalalabad, two in Kabul and eight in Khost another city close to the Pakistan border  but some 280 km south-east of the capital.

Ahmed Shah Pakteen is the only Afghani to have stood at first class level to date, his matches being in second-tier internationals as a then member of the ICC’s third-tier umpire Development Panel (DP) (PTG 1797-8978, 10 April 2016).  Now that Afghanistan is one the ICC’s twelve Full Members, Pakteen and his colleague Ahmed Shah Durrani have been elevated from the DP to the ICC’s second-tier International Umpires Panel (PTG 2268-11478, 6 October 2017).

Referees Hamim Khan and Zarab Shah Zaheer are likely to make their first class debuts, while umpires such as Durrani, Farooq Khan, Mehmood Kharotai, Izatullah Safi, Ajmal Shamolzi and Bismillah Shinwari are also in line to stand in their first matches at that level.

First class milestones for Aussie umpires.

PTG Editor.

Thursday, 19 October 2017.

PTG 2280-11538.

Australian umpire Paul Wilson is to stand in his 50th first class match during the opening twelve matches of Cricket Australia’s (CA) Sheffield Shield first class season that are to be played over the next six weeks.  Other milestones in those games are the debuts at first class level of CA umpire Development Panel member Donovan Koch and former first class umpire Bob Parry as a match referee, the first first class games as CA National Umpire Panel (NUP) members for Simon Lightbody and Tony Wilds, and a rare domestic appearance of Australian member of the International Cricket Council Elite Umpire Panel (EUP) member Bruce Oxenford.

All twelve NUP members and the six members of CA’s National Panel Match Referees group, plus seventeen scorers who have previously supported first class fixtures,  have been assigned to the twelve Shield games which are to be played across all six state capitals, the three first round fixtures in Adelaide, Brisbane and Perth being day-night, pink ball matches.  Wilson and Gerard Abood are to stand in that Perth game, Lightbody and Geoff Joshua in Brisbane and Sam Nogajski and John Ward in Adelaide.  It will be Wilson and Lightbody’s first day-night first class game, Nogajski and Ward their fourth, Joshua his fifth and Abood sixth.

Oxenford, fresh from his 100th and 101st first class game as an umpire in two Tests in South Africa three weeks ago (PTG 2253-11402, 20 September 2017), is to stand in a Shield match in Sydney with NUP member Shawn Craig in early November, a fixture that will be his first domestic first class game in Australia for five years (PTG 1009-4906, 27 October 2012), his last appearance being in a CA Twenty20 match in January 2015.  Oxenford’s Australia EUP colleagues Paul Reiffel and Rod Tucker last stood in a domestic first class fixture in Australia five and eight years ago respectively, the latter like Oxenford turning out for a single CA T20 game in January 2015 (PTG 1494-7218, 4 January 2015).

South African born Koch, who made his List A debut earlier this month, has been on-field in a first class game before as he played 21 such games in his birth country in the period from 1997-2002.  Parry is a former first class and One Day International umpire, Umpire Manager with both Cricket Victoria and the ICC’s East-Asia Pacific region, and for the past four years until he took up a referee’s role with CA, the national body’s Umpire Educator.  He was a member of the NUP for 11 years from 2001-12 and stood in 83 first class games, four of them finals of Australia's domestic first class competition the Sheffield Shield (PTG 2260-11445, 27 September 2017).  

In other CA appointments, Nogajski and Wilson are to stand in the final of CA’s domestic one-day series in Hobart on Saturday, Abood being the third umpire, Peter Marshall the match referee and Nathan Bester and Graeme Hamley the scorers. Thursday’s Elimination Final, which is also being played in Hobart, will see Abood and Nogajski on-field, Wilson the third umpire, Steve Bernard the referee and Bester and Hamley again the scorers.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 2,281

Thursday, 19 October 2017

(Second edition)

 

• Wide disparity in international player match fees [PTG 2281-11539].

• Two balls in use for Womens’ Championship ODIs [PTG 2281-11540].

• Long-serving Tasmania umpire prepares for 700th match [PTG 2281-11541].

• Warner chose words badly but was right about Ashes passion [PTG 2281-11542].

Wide disparity in player international player match fees.

PTG Editor.

Thursday, 19 October 2017.

PTG 2281-11539.

The disparity between the pay players from teams fielded by Full Members of the International Cricket Council across all three of the game’s formats is stark, according to figures collated by ‘Cricinfo' web site journalists.  Those who brought together the figures say getting exact data is difficult, however, their work indicates player match fees for a Test match range from $A29,800-$A2,550 (£UK17,700-£1,515), for One Day Internationals (ODI) from $A11,900-$A1,300 (£UK7,070-£770), and Twenty20 Internationals (T20I) from $A6,730-$A600 (£UK4,000-£355), the lower fees being around 9-10 percent of the upper in all three cases 

Indian players selected for a Test match receive around $A29,800 (£UK17,700) for each such outing and those from Zimbabwe $A2,550 (£UK1,515).  In between those representing England take home $A25,000 (£UK14,850) per Test, Australia $A15,700 (£UK9,330) for a home match and $A22,600 (£UK13,530) for games away, then comes a South African player on $A8,800 (£UK5,230), those from New Zealand $A7,770 (£UK4,615), the West Indies $A7,325 (£UK4,350), Pakistan $A7,325-$A5,460 (£UK4,350-£3,245), Sri Lanka $A6,730 (£UK4,000) and Bangladesh $A5,480 (£UK3,250).  The two other current ICC Full Members, Afghanistan and Ireland are yet to play as Test, however, the latter will do so next April (PTG 2274-11508, 13 October 2017).

The top of the match fee order is similar for ODIs but the list varies a bit from Tests at the lower end.  India again tops the ODI pay list with $A11,900 (£UK7,070), followed by England with $A8,400 (£UK5,000), Australia $A7,000 (£UK4,160), Pakistan $A4,600-$A3,000 (£UK2,735-£1,780), Sri Lanka $A3,800 (£UK2,260), Bangladesh and New Zealand both $A3,200 (£UK1,900), West Indies $A2,930 (£UK1,740), South Africa $A2,420 (£UK1,440), Ireland $A1,400 (£UK830) and Zimbabwe $A1,275 (£UK755). 

England heads the T20I match fee list at $A6,730 (£UK4,000) per game, then comes India on $A6,000 (£UK3,565), Australia $A5,000 (£UK2,970), Sri Lanka $A3,800 (£UK 2,260), Pakistan $A3,330-$A2,000 (£UK1,980-£1,190), New Zealand and the West Indies $A2,200 (£UK1,305), Bangladesh $A1,600 (£UK950), South Africa $A1,160 (£UK690), Zimbabwe $A640 (£UK380) and Ireland $A575 (£UK340).  Figures were not available for Afghanistan ODIs and T20Is played to date.

Cricinfo’s journalists do not appear to have attempted to summarise what international match officials are paid for in each of the Tests, ODIs and T20Is they support.

Two balls in use for Womens’ Championship ODIs.

PTG Editor.

Thursday, 19 October 2017.

PTG 2281-11540.

Two balls are being for the first time in the One Day Internationals (ODI) that make up the International Cricket Council’s 2017-18 Women's Championship, the first matches of which are being played this month in the West indies and Australia.  Like men’s ODIs, which began using two balls in 2011 (PTG 840-4104, 30 September 2011), each will be used in alternate overs with one from each end, however, in a game that is reduced to 25 overs or less per side before the first innings commences, each team will only have only one new ball for its time in the field.

Long-serving Tasmania umpire prepares for 700th match.

PTG Editor.

Thursday, 19 October 2017.

PTG 2281-11541.

Long-serving Tasmanian umpire Don Heapy will stand in his 700th 'official' match as a member of the Tasmanian Cricket Umpires and Scorers Association (TCUSA) in Hobart on Sunday, although the total of number of games he has officiated in during his 40-year career to date is thought to actually be closer to 800.  Despite the coming milestone TCUSA Life Member Heapy, 70, who commenced umpiring in his late twenties, hopes to continue his involvement out on the ground for many years to come.

Heapy, who will become the second TCUSA member after colleague Brian Pollard to chalk up 700 games (PTG 1778-8880, 10 March 2016), took up umpiring in the mid-1970s, first standing in a regional league before moving to what is now Cricket Tasmania's Premier League competition, the state's feeder to the first class game.  Since then he has stood in over 240 Premier League first grade matches, more than any other TCUSA member, a record that includes three Grand Finals at that level and almost thirty in other grades.  

During the last half of the 1990s Heapy was selected to support both Sheffield Shield, tour and interstate one-day games, with fourth umpire positions in two One Day Internationals being the pinnacle.  There have also been a number of state Second XI games, a national Under-17 men's tournament, in which he stood in the final, and a variety of other lower-level intra and interstate events.  The last few years have seen Heapy go 'international' for he has stood in tournaments at Hau Hin and Chaing Mai in Thailand that involved teams from many countries around the world, as well as in Hong Kong.

Off the field Heapy's record is equally impressive in supporting the TCUSA's activities.  He was President of the Association for two years in the early 2000s, and all-up has served as Vice President for a total of eight.  Awards have also come his way, including the inaugural TCUSA 'Umpire of the Year' trophy in 1995, for 'Services to the Association' in 1998 and the 'Advisor's Merit Award' in 2004.  Heapy''s partner in Sunday's Premier League game will be TCUSA colleague Mark Gilliard for whom it will be his 622nd game with the association.  Its not often that the two umpires looking after a game have stood in a combined total of more than 1,300 games during their career.

Warner chose words badly but was right about Ashes passion.

Steve James.

The Times.

Thursday, 19 October 2017.

PTG 2281-11542.

The upcoming Ashes probably did not require too much extra spice, but then good old David Warner pipes up with the words “hatred” and “war” and the temperature of the preamble has suddenly altered considerably (PTG 2277-11520, 17 October 2017).  They were spectacularly ill-chosen words, not exactly a shock given some of Warner’s previous utterances, and it looks as though he knows that already to a certain extent because, in a subsequent interview, he was careful to use “dislike” instead of “hatred”, however, despite that he has been widely condemned for his choice of words (PTG 2278-11525, 18 October 2017).

But I have to say that I can see what Warner was trying to articulate. Before going on, I must stress that I am not advocating widespread bellicosity on cricket fields. Far from it.  For example, I generally find the modern form of sledging — mostly abuse, it seems — abhorrent. It is a part of the game that is hugely overrated and overhyped.

Most of the great fast bowlers I faced, the majority of whom were West Indians, barely said a word. A steely glance from the late Malcolm Marshall was enough to let you know just how he felt about a certain situation.  Nor are bowlers the stand-up comedians many would have us believe. But that is not to say that witty asides and mind-distracting comments on the field cannot be a part of the game, and that angry words will not be exchanged in the heat of the moment.

Cricket has never been, and never will be, the game of the “it’s just not cricket” myth. It is not white and pure as the driven snow. But there is a difference between deliberate and pre-planned verbal nonsense and some tension that might result from certain situations and clashes. The latter are often memorable — there is no finer example than Allan Donald raging at England's Mike Atherton at Trent Bridge in 1998 — and make the game richer in every sense.

If Warner is planning a return to the days when he was Australia’s sledger-in-chief (the vice-captain has been nicknamed “the Reverend” in recent times because of his changed attitude), then he is badly mistaken, not least because the International Cricket Council has sharpened its teeth considerably when chewing over such matters, although sometimes it lets serious matters pass, as in this years India-Australia Tests (PTG 2069-10471, 9 March 2017). But wasn’t he really talking more about his role as a batsman and the unique mental and physical battle with the bowler?

“As soon as you step on that line it’s war, you try and get into a battle as quick as you can”, he said. “I try to look into the opposition’s eye and try and work out how I can dislike this player, how can I get on top of him.  You have to delve and dig deep into yourself to actually get some sort of hatred about them”.

Psychology takes many shapes. Cricket is a long game and emotional arousal can sometimes be elusive. A batsman can hate a bowler but then take out the anger on the ball. It is just a trick of the mind, the type one constantly has to play to defeat negativity and maintain motivation. Some things are best left in the mind. No one needs to know, unless you want to broadcast it, like Warner.

I hated every bowler I faced. They were out to get me. To get me out, too. It was personal and emotive. A drink at the bar with an opposition bowler? Not if it could be avoided. To know them, maybe even like them? No thanks.  The things you do. Funnily enough, I know a few bowlers now and they are decent blokes.

It is said that these days there is not enough socialising between cricketers, not enough drinking and sharing of knowledge at the bar as players rush from the ground in tracksuits for gym work and ice baths, but isn’t cricket actually more sociable then ever?  Everybody knows everybody. They tweet each other and comment on each other’s photographs on Instagram. The Indian Premier League and other T20 leagues around the world mean the distinction between opponent and colleague is blurred. County cricket used to do this to a certain degree. It was amazing how nice Shane Warne was to his then Hampshire colleague Kevin Pietersen on his Test debut in 2005.

The mystique and the magic are gone. So, too, the distance. And with it can go the aggression, especially in the batsman-bowler duel. That is what Warner, however clumsily, was more likely to have been hinting at.  Cricket is not a physical contact sport — though it surprises me that sledging has not led to more cases of it being so — but it can still be grippingly aggressive and brutal. But what we do not want is orchestrated abuse and persistent petulant behaviour. Surely not even Warner wants that.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 2,282

Friday, 20 October 2017

 

• Five Afghani match officials set for first class debuts [PTG 2282-11543].

• Domestic referees, umpires, scorers and analysts unpaid by BCCI [PTG 2282-11544].

• Hafeez’s bowling action reported for a third time [PTG 2282-11545].

• Call for men to adopt multi-format Ashes [PTG 2282-11546].

Five Afghani match officials set for first class debuts.

PTG Editor.

Friday, 20 October 2017.

PTG 2282-11543.

Three umpires and two match referees will make their first class debuts in Afghanistan on Friday when the first two matches in the world’s newest first class competition, the Alokozay Ahmad Shah Abdali tournament, get underway in Kabul and Jalalabad.  The two four-day games are the first of twenty-four in a series that is scheduled to run until the end of December (PTG 2280-11537, 19 October 2017).

In Jalalabad, Ahmed Shah Pakteen, 40, a member of the International Cricket Council’s second-tier International umpires Panel (IUP), will be standing in his fourth first class game, his previous ones being at second-tier nation international level.  His partner in the game between the Speen Ghar and Amo regions is Mahmood Kharoti, 37, while the reserve umpire will be Pakteen’s IUP colleague Ahmed Shah Durrani, 42, Hamim Khan being the referee.  That leaves Durrani as the only member of the IUP who has not stood at first class level.

Kabul will see Bismillah Jan Shinwari, 33, and Izatullah Safi on-field for the fixture between the Mis Ainak and Band-e-Amir regions, with Ajmal Shamolzi  40, the reserve umpire and Zarab Shah Zaheer, 30, the match referee.   Kharota, Hamim Khan, Safi, Shamolzi, Shinwari and Zaheer all made their List A debuts last month, Pakteen and Durrani having previously done so in internationals (PTG 2269-11485, 8 October 2017).

Domestic referees, umpires, scorers and analysts unpaid by BCCI.

Devendra Pandey

The Indian Express.

Thursday, 19 October 2017.

PTG 2282-11544.

With India’s domestic season having now been underway for over a month, a total of 115 umpires, 62 match referees, 170 video analysts and 150 scorers are yet to receive any pay from the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).  Those officials are supposed to get 750 Rupees ($A14.65, £UK8.75) as daily allowance, the board usually providing the monies involved after only a few days delay, however, this year the board has taken more than month to clear these dues.

There is no clarity as to whether the dues will be paid in the next few days. “The board needs to understand that video analysts and scorers don’t come from big families. Many of them do small jobs to earn a living. I was asked to do three back-to-back matches. It will be tough for me to get hold of enough money for my next 20 days trip”, said a video analyst.  But many don’t want to write to the board fearing they will be blacklisted and won’t be get games in the future.

Before every season, the BCCI conducts two-day seminars for umpires, match referees, video analysts and scorers at various academies in India. This year, video analysts and scorers had their seminar in mid-September in Nagpur where BCCI has its special academies. Each scorer and video analyst is eligible for second class railway fare but each individual has to book and pay for their own ticket.

For the first time this season all daily allowances are to be paid electronically, thus ending the long established practice where state associations paid daily allowance in cash to each official on the first day of a match.

A match referee said the BCCI needs to look into the matter of unpaid allowances at the earliest opportunity, and at the same time urged for an increase in the amount. He said the board puts up match referee and umpires in five-star hotels where even a sandwich costs 1,500 Rupees ($A29.30, £UK17.500).  “The other day, I paid 1,200 Rupees ($A23.45, £UK14) for curd rice. There are state players who get 1,500 Rupees and we get half of it. The board was never like this before. Many of us are on the road for three weeks at a time".

Many video analysts have told that the BCCI has some issue with the country’s Goods and Services Tax, and that it has led to the payment delay, but there has been no official word from BCCI senior officials. Attempts were made to contact them but they were not available for comment.

Hafeez’s bowling action reported for a third time.

PTG Editor.

Friday, 20 October 2017.

PTG 2282-11545.

Pakistan off-spinner Mohammad Hafeez has been reported for a suspect bowling action during the third One Day International against Sri Lanka in Abu Dhabi, the third time in three years match officials have had to submit such a report about him.  His action will now be scrutinised further under the International Cricket Council's illegal bowling action regulations and is required to undergo testing within 14 days, a period during which he will be permitted to continue bowling in international cricket until the results of the assessments are known.

Hafeez, 37, was first suspended from bowling in December 2014 (PTG 1489-7198, 24 December 2014), before he was cleared the following April.  He was reported for a second time in June 2015 and and was subsequently suspended from bowling in international cricket for 12 months from July 2015.  Last November he underwent a reassessment of his bowling action at Cricket Australia's National Cricket Centre in Brisbane and was allowed to resume bowling after his action was found to be legal (PTG 1991-10048, 1 December 2016).

Call for men to adopt multi-format Ashes.

Australian Associated Press.

Friday, 20 October 2017.

PTG 2282-11546.

Australian womens' vice-captain Alex Blackwell believes men’s cricket should adopt the women’s multi-format Ashes model to counter packed international schedules.   Speaking ahead of the women’s home Ashes series, Blackwell lamented she had been able to don the baggy green just 11 times in her 14-year career.  However, she is convinced the women’s Ashes format should also be used by the men to cater for their ever-growing, year-long program.

The women’s Ashes series, which starts on Sunday, is decided on a points system across one Test, three One Day Internationals (ODI) and three Twenty20 International (T20I) matches. Four points are given for a Test win and two for a draw, with two points for victories in one-dayers and T20Is.  The format has proved a hit with spectators with the Ashes opener — Sunday’s first ODI in Brisbane — a sellout at Allan Border Field.

And there is already growing hype behind their one-off Test — a day-night clash early next month at North Sydney Oval. “I understand the balance that has to be struck with scheduling”, Blackwell said. “This multi-format Ashes has been a wonderful success and it is something I think men’s cricket could look at.  I would love to play all top-eight nations in this format.  Maybe that is me dreaming but it’s been great to test yourself against an opposition across all three formats”.

Blackwell believed it might be the answer for men’s cricket with countries having to juggle expanding international and domestic schedules. “The scheduling is getting more and more difficult fitting in tournaments plus domestic competitions around the world”, Blackwell said.  Her only complaint about the women’s format is the rare baggy green sightings.  “That’s what is great about this Ashes series. We get to wear the baggy green — that only happens once every two years for us”, Blackwell said.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 2,283

Saturday, 21 October 2017

 

• Two-thirds of Australian associations embrace new junior formats [PTG 2283-11547].

• State funeral to stop play [PTG 2283-11548].

• Bowler fined half his match fee for ‘serious' dissent [PTG 2283-11549].

• Warner is pure box office as England approach [PTG 2283-11550].

Two-thirds of Australian associations embrace new junior formats.

James Buckley.

Fairfax Media.

Friday, 20 October 2017.

PTG 2283-11547.

What began as a pilot program to test modified cricket rules will become a nationwide revolution this austral summer as almost 65 per cent of Australian associations adopt the junior format shaping the sport's future.  In what ex-Australian captain Greg Chappell describes as a critical direction junior cricket needs to take, 160 of the country's 247 associations have opted to introduce radical rule changes for children in a bid to increase participation and player retention (PTG 1908-9574, 26 August 2016).

The majority of youngsters will pursue their craft under modified rules this summer as part of a staged roll out of the junior format concept, playing on shorter pitches with smaller equipment and alongside fewer teammates.  Last season's pilot program, trialled across 15 associations, produced significant increases in boundaries struck, runs scored and wickets taken, and perhaps most crucially a reduction in the number of wides and no balls bowled (PTG 2095-10609, 4 April 2017).

"There are an inordinate number of kids that want to play our game and a lot of them we've scared off over the years because we've made the game too difficult”, Chappell said.  "We haven't made it enough fun, we haven't developed their passion early by giving them a memorable experience.  The different formats are about compressing the game, increasing the number of moments that they're involved in the game, handling the ball, bowling the ball, hitting the ball because that's how you learn.  It's not about developing a technique, it's about developing a love, developing a passion and the desire to want to get out there and keep trying to get better at it”.

Chappell knows first-hand just how many youngsters walk away from the sport. His son Jon, a talented cricketer in his own right, gave up the sport in favour of baseball in the 1990s.  A Cricket Australia roadshow four years ago asked fans across the country to outline their major concerns surrounding the sport and overwhelmingly, retention of players reared its head as a major issue (PTG 1604-7788, 28 July 2015).

Dr Ian Renshaw, father of Test opener Matthew and a lecturer at the Queensland University of Technology in human movement and sports science, was enlisted and he began a comprehensive biomechanical testing exercise.  Two hundred children in each age group, including boys, girls, cricketers and non-cricketers were put through their paces and tested on how far they could hit, bowl and throw a ball.

Data collected helped form the basis of the junior format modifications which kick in at under-nine level where youngsters play on a pitch of 14 m in length with up to eight children per team, and with a 30 m boundary.  Those restrictions are slowly relaxed as juniors age before they move onto a full-length pitch at Under-14s.

"For 150, 200 years, maybe 400 years, we've been playing cricket off one measurement which happens to be the old term for a length of measurement for a field”, Cricket NSW development manager Nail McDonald said.  "So 22 yards, 66 feet, one chain. It was determined by some pastor back in the 16th century.  There were more runs scored, more action in the field [last summer]. Kids rotating [strike] quicker, games finished in two hours instead of three and a half hours. It seems to have been well received so far and this year will prove the point".

Australia is not alone in the take up of junior format cricket.  In June this year former Australian women's captain Belinda Clark and CA manager in junior formats Harry Tinney crossed the Tasman and presented their case to the Kiwis.  New Zealand will roll out pilot programs of their own this summer, with a view to a 100 per cent take-up over the next few years (PTG 2168-10999, 18 June 2017).

Tinney hopes Australia will also hit 100 per cent participation in the coming years.  "That's the aspiration, our hope is that it becomes junior cricket”, Tinney said.  "We're allowing junior cricketers to progress through a staged model that allows them to perform the skills that they see on television and see when they watch elite cricketers. They can do that under a staged model as they progress towards what is the traditional adult game.  It's evidence based, tested, proven and combined with the community buy in and as a result we've had such a significant take-up” by so many cricket associations.

For Under 11 players the pitch length had been set as 16 m, there are 7 players per team, 20 overs per innings, the boundary is 40 m from the stumps and the balls used are 125-142 g.  Under 13’s have a pitch that is 18 m long, there are 9 per team, 30 overs in an innings, the boundary is set at 45 m and the balls are 142 g.  Then for ages between 14 and 19 the pitch is 20 m long, there are 11 per side, 40 over innings, the boudaries are at 50 m and the balls 156 g for males and 142 g for females.

State funeral to stop play.

PTG Editor.

Saturday, 21 October 2017.

PTG 2283-11548.

The second round game of the Cricket West Indies’ 2017-18 ‘domestic’ four-day first class series between Barbados and the Leeward Islands  early next month will be played with a 'rest day’ inserted on what would have originally been day three of the fixture.  The change has occurred due to the state funeral of Sir Clifford Husbands, a former former Governor-General of Barbados, which is due to be held that day.  The match will now be played on 1, 2, 4 and 5 November at Kensington Oval in Bridgetown.

Bowler fined half his match fee for ‘serious' dissent.

PTG Editor.

Friday, 20 October 2017.

PTG 2283-11549.

Victorian bowler Dan Christian lost half his match fee for the Cricket Australia (CA) one-day domestic series elimination final match against South Australia on Thursday in Hobart because of a show of ‘serious dissent’ at an umpire’s decision.  The 34-year-old was charged with a Level Two disciplinary offence after he openly questioned umpire Sam Nogsjski’s call that one of his deliveries was a wide.

Christian was bowling what would have been the final ball of his tenth over final over in the match, and after the call of wide he became visibly upset and immediately questioned it while standing in the middle of the pitch.  Match referee Steve Bernard later considered the report from Nogajski and his colleague Gerard Abood and proposed a fine of 50 per cent for the all-rounder.  He admitted the offence and accepted that sanction. As it was his first offence in the past 18 months no hearing was required.

Warner is pure box office as England approach.

Gideon Haigh.

The Australian.

Saturday, 21 October 2017.

PTG 2283-11550.

Australian vice captain David Warner. A microphone. A recorder. A question about sledging. What could possibly go wrong?  Quite a lot, it would seem, if you have followed this week’s headlines (PTG 2277-11520, 17 October 2017). For in his promotional roles for the Ashes in the past week, Australia’s vice-captain has sounded more like a heavyweight at a weigh-in.  It was spendthrift language (“war”, “battle”, “hatred”), and ­predictably incurred censure ­(“pathetic”, “destructive”, “deplorable”) (PTG 2278-18 October 2017).

Even Warner resiled just a little, tempering his remarks at an event on Tuesday: “Everyone’s mates, we are mates, but sometimes you have to really try and work a way out to actually build some kind of — I used the word ‘hatred’ the other day — but some dislike, make things a little bit uncomfortable for blokes when they’re out there”.

In other quarters, of course, there was also lip-smacking relish: Warner was “bringing back the sledge”, which among some breed of fans occasions waves of nostalgia.  At the very least, it demonstrated again why Warner is box office, all or nothing with bat and mouth. But there was more substance to Warner’s remarks than most chose to see (PTG 2281-11542, 19 October 2017).

His most provocative word was actually not war, battle or hatred — the hackneyed hyperbole of an age in which nothing is knowingly understated — but try.  Warner was straining, awkwardly, to convey that tapping into peak aggression does not come naturally; it requires an individual to “delve and dig deep”; it might even necessitate generating a simulated animosity.

The idea is older than it seems. Last week, coincidentally, I enjoyed 'The Kid From Coraki', the newly published memoir by Richie Benaud’s late father Lou.  It’s a charming book full of affirming sentiments about cricket’s moral excellence (“Ethics and cricket are like true friends — never at their best when parted”).

Yet Lou also recalled how, even in his bush cricket in the 1930s, he would try to work up what he called “inward anger”, sometimes against a particular rival. He recommended: “All players should develop inward anger, a surge of controlled aggression, of fierce determination to cope with the challenge of batting or bowling in difficult circumstances”.

If it lacked Warner’s exorbitance of expression, Lou Benaud’s approach originated in a similar sentiment. “Inward anger”, “competitive juices”, “game face”: whatever you call them, these distinguish sport from recreation.  Why would Warner need to strain for this competitive state? After all, it is usually said of him that the reverse is true — that his native belligerence has required self-conscious subduing.

Maybe, maybe not. Warner turns 31 soon. He has done what he does many years, in humdrum as well as heightened circumstances. He is happily married, has two bonny daughters, could retire tomorrow and lead a life of comfort verging on luxury. There is none of the stereotypical cues for a kill-or-be-killed competitive urge here.

Nor was Warner’s qualification about “everyone’s mates, we are mates” a throwaway either. Scroll through Warner’s T20 timeline and consider the breadth of his past and present comrades. From India: Sehwag, Gambhir, Ishant, Dhawan, Rahul, Yuvraj, Bhuvaneshwar and Nehra. From South Africa: Steyn, Morkel and de Villiers. From New Zealand: Taylor, Boult and Vettori. From Sri Lanka: Jayawardene and Dilshan; from West Indies Gayle and Sammy.

The effect of this kind of mixing, matching and blending in domestic T20 dressing rooms has not been uniform, but is not to be underestimated. In his last book, Kevin Pietersen talked about the complication of playing against Warner in the Ashes having played with him at the Delhi Daredevils: “I was thinking, I can’t abuse this bloke — I play with him in India. I’ve spent so much time with him, I know that, actually, he’s a cool dude”. Warner hard to dislike? Who knew?

During the recent short-form tour of India, the Australians were actually criticised for their reticence, for having on the field too little to say — which must surely be a first.  Warner’s old Daredevils mentor Virender Sehwag ascribed this to self-interest: “They [Australian players] are scared because of next year’s mega Indian Premier League auctions. If they had sledged the Indian players in the One Day International series, then the Indian franchise owners might think before bidding high for the Australian players”. Too cynical? It has become, in many respects, a very cynical game.

Another inhibitor certainly exists, which is the International Cricket Council’s new system of automatic suspension for the accumulation of four demerit points within a 24-month period (PTG 1929-9694, 23 September 2016), although some point its inconsistent application (PTG 2226-11277, 10 August 2017).

Whatever its value as a deterrent, it has already had some risible outcomes. Not so long ago, for example, Kagiso Rabada was rubbed out of a Test for the misdeed of swearing at nobody in particular but within the range of a pitch microphone. Around the same time, sages were urging Ben Stokes to infringe deliberately in order to incur a pre-Ashes suspension, thereby wiping his proverbial slate clean — that, of course, was before Stokes took another proverbial slate and broke it over his own head.

All of which adds up, and affords a context to Warner’s seeming verbal incontinence. Aggression is abiding, but must be adapted: it may now need to be premeditated, husbanded, channelled, even feigned.  There is a risk in this, too — that aggression becomes simply another commodity in a game whose spontaneity is always under threat from straitening influences.

This week, Cricket Australia foreshadowed an official social media “rallying cry”: the officially sanctioned and sterilised aggression of a hashtag, #BeatEngland.  I know that Martin Luther would today not nail his 95 theses to a church door but tweet #PlenaryIndulgencesLMFAO instead. But if this is the alternative, I can forbear promiscuous use of words like “war”, “battle” and “hatred” — after all, media outlets debauch them of meaning daily.

In an Ashes summer, part of the fun is the licence inherent in the strength and length of competitors’ connections. Sir Robert Menzies’ lines in Wisden now read a little anachronistically, but the sentiment is worth reiterating: “Great Britain and Australia are of the same blood and allegiance and history and instinctive mental processes. We know each other so well, thank Heaven, we don’t have to be too tactful with each other”.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 2,284

Sunday, 22 October 2017

 

• Afghan first class games continue in face of week of slaughter [PTG 2284-11551].

• Pakistan player reports match fixing approach [PTG 2284-11552].

• ‘Keeper’ promises to ‘bring back the bitch’ for Ashes series [PTG 2284-11553

Afghan first class games continue in face of week of slaughter.

PTG Editor.

Sunday, 22 October 2017.

PTG 2284-11551.

Afghanistan’s first ever first class domestic matches got underway in Kabul and Jalalabad on Friday and continued on Saturday despite a spate of suicide bomb attacks that have killed more than 250 people in the capital and in other parts of the country in seven separate assaults since Tuesday.  Last month a bomber blew himself up outside the Alokozay Kabul International Cricket Ground (AKICG) during a one-day domestic match killing three (PTG 2248, 11383, 14 September 2017).

On Saturday, three kilometres from the AKICG where to Mis Ainak and Band-e-Amir regions were playing first class cricket (PTG 2282-11543, 20 October 2017), a bomber killed 15 Afghan army cadets as they were leaving their base, and earlier in the day two rockets landed near the international military headquarters there.  On Friday, the first day of the game, a man blew himself up in a Shia mosque two kilometres from the AKICG killing at least 56 people and wounding 55 others, and another 30 people were killed in the bombing of a mosque in another part of the country.

Pakistan player reports match fixing approach.

Umar Farooq.

Cricinfo.

Saturday, 21 October 2017.

PTG 2284-11552.

Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed was the target of an allegedly corrupt approach before the third One Day International against Sri Lanka in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday, multiple sources have confirmed.  Sarfraz immediately reported the incident to Pakistan's management, who then passed it on to the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Anti-Corruption unit (ACU). The ACU will now take over the investigation.

Najam Sethi, the chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), tweeted: "As per rules he immediately reported to PCB who informed ICC. Matters are jointly in hand. No further comment”.

In February, a number Pakistan players were the target of corrupt approaches during the second season of the PCB’s Pakistan Super League (PSL), which was also held in the United Arab Emirates. Several were punished by the PCB for failing to report the approaches and two - Sharjeel Khan and Khalid Latif - have been found guilty and banned for more serious breaches of the PCB's anti-corruption code.  Kahn, who has appealed, and Latif, were was banned for five years (PTG 2256-11423, 23 September 2017), while Mohammad Irfan was ejected from the game for six months (PTG 2256-11427, 23 September 2017). 

‘Keeper’ promises to ‘bring back the bitch’ for Ashes series.

Geoff Lemon.

ABC News.

Saturday, 21 October 2017.

PTG 2284-11553.

Warm English smiles, cold Australian shoulders, and a sodden Brisbane landscape are the three factors the day before the Women's Ashes begins at Allan Border Field in Brisbane on Sunday.  The English have committed to their cheerful approach that buoyed them to a World Cup title in July, while some of the Australians have vowed to make things unsociable on the field and bring the pressure of a hostile crowd to bear.

Australian wicketkeeper Alyssa Healy said on a podcast: "Playing all these domestic competitions around the world has made everyone too nice”, referring to the mix of nationalities playing in Cricket Australia's Women's Big Bash League (WBBL) and the England and Wales Cricket Board’s Womens' Super League.  "Personally I've vowed to bring the bitch back and return to my chirpy self behind the stumps and be a pest for the opposition”, said Healey.

England captain Heather Knight is instead seeing the advantage gained in the new franchise world, with a good chunk of her squad now having experience playing in Australia.  The WBBL was "definitely" a factor going into this series, she said.  "A lot of the girls have played in that competition. Four or five have played [at Allan Border Field] before.  A lot of us have played at Manuka and the other grounds".

As for Healy's promised aggression, which her fast bowling teams mate Megan Schutt has vowed to back up, Knight came back with a politely delivered burn of her own. "We're really not that interested”, she said.  "It wouldn't be an Ashes tour without a little bit of word from the Aussies.  Obviously if that's the route Australia want to go down, they felt they need to do something different to try and unsettle us. But that's a sign of where we are and how successful we've been as a team”.

Australian captain Rachael Haynes was diplomatically supportive of Healy, though more interested in aggressive play rather than interaction.  "I just want our players to get the most out of themselves individually:”, Haynes said.  "If that's something that fires them up and gets them ready to play, then so be it. So long as it's within the spirit of the game.  Alyssa is probably one of the only players that can get away with coming out and saying that.  At this level, if you stand back and wait for the game to come to you, it will get taken away pretty quickly”.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 2,285

Monday, 23 October 2017

 

• Senior manager brushes aside calls for CA review [PTG 2285-11554].

• BCCI wants polio-afflicted fan way from the boundary [PTG 2285-11555].

• Vice-captain expresses ‘regret' over Ashes comments [PTG 2285-11556].

Senior manager brushes aside calls for CA review.

Peter Lalor.

The Australian.

Monday, 23 October 2017.

PTG 2285-11554.

Cricket Australia’s (CA) high performance manager Pat Howard has shrugged off calls for a review of the way the organisation conducted itself in this year's ugly dispute with the players.  Howard, alongside executive Kevin Roberts, was one of the hardest negotiators on the employer’s side in meetings that dragged on until chief executive James Sutherland belatedly became involved (PTG 2201-11146, 14 July 2017).

Outside the negotiations Howard attempted to break the players’ solidarity by offering special multi-year contracts to David Warner, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins, with an added provision that they skip the Indian Premier League (PTG 2148-10901, 27 May 2017).  Roberts and Howard were key members of the negotiating team dispatched by CA to wrest revenue share from the players. The dispute was the worst ever seen in Australian cricket with negotiations dragging on for ten months and the players off contract for 34 days.  An Australia A tour was cancelled during the stand-off.

While the dispute was eventually resolved when CA gave up its hardline stance on revenue share, relationships between the two sides were put under enormous strain.  Asked about the dispute last week, Australian vice-captain David Warner said it was not the players who picked the fight. But the Australian Cricketers Association (ACA) upset CA in its annual report by calling on it to review the way the situation was handled (PTG 2247-11377, 13 September 2017).

While Sutherland said there would be a review, the organisation has been evasive about its timing and nature since.  “Every five years this [contract negotiation with the ACA] comes around”, Howard said.  “For me, it’s done, it’s finished, it’s over. We can chat about it again in four years’ time, I look forward to that”.

Howard denies it has put any strain on his relationship with the playing group.  “I was in the dressing room with [one-day] captain [Steve Smith] and [Twenty20 International captain [Warner in India recently].  I was very focused on the cricket, I was very comfortable with that. I was open to anything they wanted to talk about, but quite frankly those in the inner sanctum have all moved on very quickly”.  

Howard indicated he was aware of the ACA’s views but there would be no special review of the contract dispute despite the urging from the players’ association.  “To be honest, I’m more focused on our One Day International performances post the World Cup and how we try and get that bridged in the lead-up to the next World Cup. But absolutely I think good practice for everybody is about reviewing what you do”.

ACA president Greg Dyer made a pointed attack on CA’s handling of the dispute in the organisation’s annual report and said the ACA is also reviewing the process.  “We must never allow such a process to happen again”, Dyer said. “At the ACA we commit to a full review of the (CA-ACA] Memorandum of Understanding process to determine how all this was allowed to occur and how it may be further avoided for all future negotiations. I assume a similar review process is under way at CA, which should include consideration of the behaviours and tactics employed by those involved, both collectively and individually”.

BCCI wants polio-afflicted fan way from the boundary.

Devendra Pandey.

The Indian Express.

Sunday, 22 October 2017.

PTG 2285-11555.

Dharamveer Pal, a widely-recognised polio-afflicted supporter of the Indian team who has been a near permanent presence on the boundary during matches for a number years, won’t be able to function as a ball-boy anymore (PTG 2107-10690, 19 April 2017). The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has written to state associations to instruct them not to use disabled people in such roles, a move that came following a barrage of criticism it received via social media and email about the practice during the recently concluded India-Australia one-day series.

BCCI general manager (game development) Ratnakar Shetty last week wrote to state associations hosting the current India-New Zealand and  next month’s India-Sri Lanka games not give accreditation to disabled people as ball-boys.  His letter read in part: “It has been reported that physically handicapped boys are being used as ball-boys during the international matches by the state units and we have been criticised for the same.  You are advised not to issue ground access pass to any physically handicapped person as ball-boys. They should be given proper seating in the stands allocated”.

Dharamveer is from a village in Morena district of Madhya Pradesh. He was afflicted with polio when he was eight months old. He has been a fervent fan of the game from a young age, and captains his home state in tournaments conducted by the All India Cricket Association for the Physically Challenged. He has been to Australia, England, West Indies, Sri Lanka, South Africa, New Zealand, Pakistan and Bangladesh to support the Indian team.  Under the BCCI’s now ruling he will be free to sit in the stands and watch a game, but he can no longer be a boundary-rider. 

'Cricket is the reason for my living’, says a tattoo on Dharamveer’s left arm. He is well known to many Indian players. During his farewell Test match in Mumbai in 2013, Sachin Tendulkar took time out to meet with Dharamveer and told him to keep supporting cricket. “It is because of you guys that we play. Keep supporting India. Indian cricket needs you”, said Tendulkar. 

Vice-captain expresses ‘regret' over Ashes comments.

Daniel Cherny.

Fairfax Media.

Sunday, 22 October 2017.

PTG 2285-11556.

Australian vice-captain David Warner concedes he went too far with some of his combative language directed at England in the lead-up to the Ashes, but insists players need to have "some inward anger" on the field.  Warner created a stir last week when he described playing cricket as "war" and spoke of his "hatred" for England, the 'Old Enemy', an approach that attracted both condemnation and understanding (PTG 2283-11550, 21 October 2017).

Speaking on Channel Nine's 'Sports Sunday', Warner acknowledged he may have erred with his words, but pointed to former Australian bowler Mitchell Johnson's fearsome bowling and Michael Clarke's infamous "broken f------ arm" sledge to English tailender Jimmy Anderson, caught by stump mic, in the Gabba Ashes Test four years ago (PTG 1242-5996, 26 November 2013), as the type of "aggressive" behaviour Australia should seek to replicate this summer.  "I probably regret some of the words I used, but at the end of the day, you've got to try and have some inward anger”, said Warner.  "You've got to create a bit of that buzz out there”.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 2,286

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

 

• Former Aussie international umpire admits stealing cash [PTG 2286-11557].

• Off-spinner’s bowling action again attracts suspension [PTG 2286-11558].

Former Aussie international umpire admits stealing cash.

Stephanie Gardiner.

Fairfax Media.

Tuesday, 24 October 2017.

PTG 228611557.

"Yep, you got me.”  That's what former Australian international umpire Darrell Hair told his managers at a bottle shop when they confronted him about stealing money from the till.

In the grip of gambling addiction, Hair was working at D'Aquino's Liquor in Orange, in central west New South Wales, nine years after ending his long and colourful career as an umpire (PTG 298-1569, 19 August 2008).  In what the magistrate called a "monumental fall from grace", Hair stole $A9,005.75 (£UK5,325) between late February and April this year.

Hair was fired from the shop in May when his bosses found CCTV footage of him taking money from the cash register and putting it in his pants pocket.  The 65-year-old pleaded guilty to one charge of embezzlement and one charge of stealing in Orange Local Court on Monday morning.  Prosecutors dropped another 43 charges.

"[Hair] stated that he had no excuse for his dishonesty and he had let his gambling get too far out of control during the early months of 2017 and failed to react to the signs that it was out of control”, according to a court document.  He made full admissions when interviewed by police.

"My client has been in the public eye for many years and this is a bit of a fall for him, to find himself before the court in these circumstances”, Hair's solicitor Andrew Rolfe said. "This is an aberration in the life of a man who, prior to this, had a lifetime of service to the community and to a sport that he loved”.

Magistrate Michael Allen said Hair's actions were a breach of trust, but noted Hair had repaid the stolen money, written letters of apology, and was in counselling for depression and addiction.  He sentenced Hair to an 18-month good behaviour bond, and did not record a conviction, stressing the law treats everyone the same way, regardless of public standing or privilege.

"There are some in our community, in particular on commercial radio, who speak with loud voices for justice to be stern and unrelenting”, Allen said.  "But that would undermine what it sets out to achieve”.  The Magistrate said gambling ads were everywhere, and gambling addiction was "no less real than an addiction to drugs ... or alcohol” [and] it's a journey he will live with, and no doubt struggle with, on a daily basis for the rest of his life”.

In November 2011, Hair left his position as the Executive Officer of the New South Wales Cricket Umpires and Scorers Association, a body of which he was a Life Member, in circumstances that have never been explained publicly (PTG 862-4215, 18 November 2011).  

Off-spinner’s bowling action again attracts suspension.

PTG Editor.

Monday, 23 October 2017.

PTG 228611558.

Gloucestershire off-spinner Jack Taylor has been suspended from bowling following a hearing of the England and Wales Cricket (ECB) Board’s Bowling Review Group (BRG).  Taylor, 25, has been reported on two separate occasions by different umpires within the last year and as a result undergone independent analysis at Loughborough University.

The BRG hearing took place last Friday and upheld the findings of the Loughborough analysis which showed his action is in excess of the allowed 15 degree limit.  He was previously suspended under ECB bowling regulations from June to August last year (PTG 1891-9485, 4 August 2016), and before that in 2013 (PTG 1289-6216, 11 February 2014).   As this year's reports have resulted in his second suspension within a two-year period from the start of last year’s suspension period, the ECB says he has now been suspended from bowling in "Competitive Cricket" for a minimum period of 12 months.

This suspension takes effect from the receipt of the latest independent assessment late last month. He has the ability to request a re-assessment of his action by independent analysis.  Taylor, who made his first class debut in 2010, has to date played 57 first class, 36 List A and 54 Twenty20 matches for his county.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 2,287

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

 

• CA confident of 'unprecedented' interest in broadcast rights [PTG 2287-11559].

• MoU called ‘a sensible compromise’ by CA chairman [PTG 2287-11560].

• Ball not dead until fielding side decides it is [PTG 2287-11561].

• Water scarcity could cut club cricket in Western Cape [PTG 2287-11562].

• Nine female umpires working in Aussie Premier League fixtures [PTG 2287-11563].

• Umpires run gauges over Indian, NZ bats to check size [PTG 2287-11564].

• CA joins stadium war in bid to halt SCG fall from grace [PTG 2287-11565].

CA confident of 'unprecedented' interest in broadcast rights.

Jon Pierik.

Fairfax Media

Tuesday, 24 October 2017.

PTG 2287-11559.

An expanding media landscape has Cricket Australia (CA) confident it will attract "unprecedented" interest in its next round of broadcast rights.  While announcing a $A68 million (£UK40 m) surplus over its just-completed four-year financial cycle on Tuesday, CA chief executive James Sutherland said the game's governing body was well placed to cash in when negotiations intensify over a new round of local international and Big Bash League (BBL) rights.  The current five-year broadcast deal, which is worth $A590 m (£UK349 m), including $A100 m (£UK59 m) for the BBL, expires at the end of the coming austral summer.

Sutherland pointed to the $A3.2 billion (£UK1.97 bn) five-year deal secured by the Indian Premier League (IPL) last month as a reason why CA rights’ value will jump (PTG 2239-11330, 5 September 2017).  He said at CA's annual general meeting in Brisbane on Tuesday: "We believe there is significant interest in cricket's rights. Ultimately, the market will decide the value of our rights but we do know the media landscape is changing all the time”.  Others have expressed a counter-view in recent times (PTG 2231-11305, 17 August 2017).  "Things are changing quickly and by the day” with digital media companies emerging as significant players such as ‘Facebook’, ‘Amazon’ and other large global companies moving in to the live sporting sphere”, said the chief executive.

According to Sutherland CA has "great content, we have high levels of fan passion and fan interest in our sport and we are very confident we are in a good position to get a great result for Australian cricket.  Together with that, the position is even stronger by virtue of developments at International Cricket Council (ICC) level in terms of structures of cricket” (PTG 2271-11492, 9 October 2017).  The new Test and one-day international championships will, from 2019, provide greater context to often meaningless series. The Test championship will culminate in a play-off for the title, while the one-day championship will end in qualification for the World Cup (PTG 2275-11514, 14 October 2017).

Sutherland also indicated CA had plans to shift the womens’ BBL to its own "discreet window", allowing it to "shine the way it should". It is concurrently played with the men's BBL but Sutherland wants a "greater focus" although details of what scheduling and other arrangements might apply are still at a preliminary stage.  

Australian broadcaster Channel Nine has indicated a number of times it wants a deal done by the end of the year. Nine has said it not only wants to retain international men's and women's cricket but also take hold of the growing beast that is the mens’ and womens’ BBL.  Channel Ten, now under the new ownership of United States company CBS, will be keen to retain the competition it has helped to build into a powerhouse (PTG 2278-11529, 18 October 2017).  "We are, obviously, pleased to see Ten have some stability now. There was a bit of an uncertain period there when they went into administration”, said Sutherland.   

CA has recently secured a bevy of overseas broadcasters deals, including a lucrative six-year contract with Indian broadcaster, but unsuccessful IPL bidder, Sony Pictures.  The others over the last year have been in the UK (BBC Radio), South Africa (SuperSport), Africa excluding northern Africa and South Africa (Econet Media), the Caribbean (IMC and CWI), the US (Willow and NBC Sports Network), Canada (Asian Television Network), New Zealand (Sky Network Television Ltd), Fiji (Fiji TV) and Papua New Guinea (NBC PNG and EMTV).  Just what those deals individually and collectively bring to CA has not been made public.

Sutherland said monies from broadcast frights deals will help improve conditions at grass-roots level, where only 20 per cent of facilities were "appropriate" for females.  Some query though just how much money will actually flow to the grassroots area of the game (PTG 2250-11394, 16 September 2017).  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).

MoU called ‘a sensible compromise’ by CA chairman.

PTG Editor.

Tuesday, 24 October 2017.

PTG 2287-11560.

While "the way in which negotiations" for a new five-year Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with players "was played out on the public arena was disappointing", the outcome reflects a “sensible compromise by both parties”, according to Cricket Australia (CA) chairman David Peever.  That’s a different view from most independent analysts who point to the length and bitterness of the dispute and express the view the player’s clearly won the contest (PTG 221-11256, 4 August 2017), while the players’ union the Australian Cricketers Association (ACA) has criticised the "behaviours and tactics" that CA employed (PTG 2285-11554, 23 October 2017).

 

Peever, who stressed any CA internal review of the pay dispute will remain private (PTG 2285-11554, 23 October 2017), says in his report to CA’s annual general meeting in Brisbane on Tuesday that “the facts are that both CA and the ACA were in total agreement that our male players would remain among the best paid sportsmen in the country. Most importantly, our women are now covered by the agreement, their income has been more than doubled, and cricket is the leading sport in Australia for gender equity when it comes to pay".

 

Cricket in Australia now offers, said Peever: “the opportunity for a full-time, professional sporting career for our women players at both the domestic and international level.  This is a fantastic achievement, and everyone involved should be congratulated”. He thinks "we will look back on 2016-17 as a landmark year for both Australian and world cricket”.

CA says Australian cricket has recorded many achievements over its 2014-17 four-year plan.  It points to: the MoU; the introduction of day-night Tests; that participation in the game around the country has reached a "new record" of 1.4 million; "an all-time match attendance record of around two million” in 2016-17; the success of its mens’ and womens’ T20 leagues; the introduction of new junior formats that "will transform the experience for children";  the launch of the 'Growing Cricket for Girls Fund' "which created more than 300 new all-girls’ teams"; and the completion of the "first-ever comprehensive audit of nationwide facilities by any sport",.  CA also listed "fan-focused innovations that include the popular 'Pool Deck @ The Gabba', along with 'Field of Flavours' which offered a range of multicultural food options".

 

Peever said the new MOU "provides the opportunity for a significant investment in grassroots cricket.  This is vital for the ongoing health of our game. It is the responsibility of all of us – CA and the states and Territory associations – to look honestly at the support we provide our clubs and associations, and ensure they have the resources, and the facilities, to keep cricket vibrant. This means, in particular, providing a great experience for children when they come to us to play cricket”.

 

The chairman went on to talk about CA’s strategic approach to the next five years which he said “states very clearly, for everyone involved in the sport, what our focus for the next five years will be. It should surprise no one that women, and junior cricket, are two of our seven strategic themes.  The others are high performance; providing our fans with what they want, in particular more Big Bash; promoting cricket to inspire everyone to love our great game; developing technology to deliver great experiences for everyone; and maximising our long-term, sustainable revenue”.  As yet though there has been no sign as to just what CA’s strategy will be in the match officials area over the next five years (PTG 2243-11359, 9 September 2017).

 

Sutherland, said cricket had a strong platform.  He started his remarks "by thanking everyone involved in such a successful 2016-17 season, including the 225,000-plus volunteers who are the lifeblood of our game at community level, and the employees of cricket at state, territory and national level”.  Peever acknowledged the retirement of a number of Australian players over the past year, and the death of several others in that time, including former Test umpire Lou Rowan who died in February at the age of 91 (PTG 2039-10327, 5 February 2017).

While there was that $A68 million (£UK40 m) surplus over the past four years, CA posted a $A51 m (£UK29.6 m) loss for the 2016-17 season according to financial papers provided in Brisbane on Tuesday.  Net assets declined to $A98.6 m (£UK58.3 m) but results "were in line with management and budgetary expectations and the four-year, long-range plan”.  CA’s four-year cycle typically includes a profit during a home Ashes summer and when India tours. However, the international season is loss-making when other national teams visit because of their less lucrative broadcast rights deals. It's expected there will be a "modest surplus" this Ashes summer.  

Ball not dead until fielding side decides it is.

PTG Editor.

Tuesday, 24 October 2017. 

PTG 2287-11561.

Canterbury batsman Tim Johnston got a lesson as to when the ball isn’t dead during day one of a Plunket Shield match at Hagley Oval in  Christchurch on Monday.  Johnston, who was playing his 28th first class game, fended off a short, sharply rising ball from Otago bowler Neil Wagner, and then wandered out of his crease.   Wagner ran casually down the side of the pitch, noted the batsman’s position, picked up the ball and underarmed into the stumps.  With umpire ‘Billy’ Bowden looking on from the bowler’s end his colleague Chris Brown gave Johnston out immediately after Wagner’s appeal.

The following day Bowden was the centre of attention after he initially shook his head when Canterbury quick Will Williams and team-mates appealed for a caught behind dismissal of Otago opener Brad Wilson  The disappointed Canterbury players put their hands on their heads, only for Bowden to walk to the stumps, change his decision and raise his finger.   

It isn't the first time Bowden has changed his mind in an unusual way in a New Zealand domestic match recently.  Last December in a Twenty20 fixture, after an appeal for a caught behind, Bowden's arm kept rising as if he was going to give the batsmen out, then he decided the next best thing to do would be to adjust his hat (PTG 2012-10178, 27 December 2017).

Water scarcity could cut club cricket in Western Cape.

Firdose Moonda.

Cricinfo.

Tuesday, 24 October 2017.

PTG 2287-11562.

Club cricket in South Africa's Western Cape region could be cut by up to half as the Western Province Cricket Association (WPCA) tries to heed the city's call to reduce water consumption in the face of the region's worst drought in over a century.  In an urgent meeting last week, WPCA cricket and local league committees discussed ideas on how to save water and a reduction of club fixtures, but did not agree on a specific number. A final decision will be made in the coming weeks.

Level 5 water restrictions are in place throughout the province and individuals have been instructed to use no more than 87 litres of water per person per day as the Cape battles lowering dam levels following a second winter with scant rainfall. Water rationing is on the horizon and all organisations have been asked to reduce water consumption as much as possible.

"The WPCA has already implemented practical steps to save water. One example was the grey-water usage by curators and all the club players at Blue Downs every week to maintain the oval, a practical, proactive measure”, Nabeal Dien, the WPCA’s chief executive said. "Obviously we will consider reducing club fixtures without knockout matches being impacted or players' need for recreational activities being adversely affected significantly”.  The club season has already begun but a revision to the fixtures may yet take place.

Nine female umpires working in Aussie Premier League fixtures.

PTG Editor.

Wednesday, 25 October 2017. 

PTG 2287-11563.

So far this austral summer seven female umpires have been on-field in five of the six Premier League (PL), first class feeder competitions that are played around Australia, one each in Brisbane, Melbourne and Perth, plus two in both Adelaide and Sydney.  An eighth and ninth are involved in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) which has provided female umpires for Cricket Australia (CA) competitions in the past.  Earlier this year CA offered females free Level One umpire courses in an effort to increase the number of women match officials in the game.

The newcomers so far this season are Sarah Fishley in Melbourne, who previously umpired in a Melbourne suburban competition and has been standing at fourth grade level, Michelle Evans in Sydney who has stood in a single fifth grade game to date, and Karen Naylor who has been on-field in both fourth and fifth grade fixtures in Brisbane.  Returnees from last season are Eloise Sheridan and Mary Waldron in Adelaide, in the ACT Deanne Young and Margaret Marshall, in Perth Ashlee Kovalevs, and in Sydney Claire Polosak.  The latter two stand in first grade games, Polosak also at womens’ international level.  Waldron, who has also umpired in Tasmania and Ireland, has played 38 Womens’ One Day Internationals for Ireland.

Young is also standing at men’s first grade games in the ACT, and like Kovalevs is a member of their respective region’s top panels. Sheridan is in second grade after stints in fourth and third grade in 2016-17, Marshall having started off the season in third grade, most of her games the previous year being in the seconds.  To date a total of 377 umpires have stood in 523 matches played across all PL levels, the nine women occupying 17 of the 1,046 on-field spots that have been available up to and including last weekend.  

Umpires run gauges over Indian, NZ bats to check size.

Times of India

Tuesday, 24 October 2017. 

PTG 2287-11564.

Umpires have used newly issued bat gauges to check the legality of  bats being used in the One Day International series between India and New Zealand.  Bats from both sides were scrutinised before the opening game of the series at Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on Sunday.  The Laws of the game as well as International Cricket Council playing conditions now limited the depth of bat edges to 40 mm and overall depth to 67 mm (PTG 2260-11442, 27 September 2017).

In other news from there, Mumbai will feature in their 500th Ranji Trophy game when they take on Baroda at the Wankhede early next month.  To commemorate the milestone, the Mumbai Cricket Association is to host all former Mumbai captains and players in a ceremony the evening before the game.  Mumbai, playing under the city’s then name Bombay, won the first-ever Ranji Trophy competition in 1934–35 and has now won the series  41 times.  Past players include Sachin Tendulkar, Sunil Gavaskar, Vijay Merchant, Polly Umrigar and Dilip Vengsarkar.

CA joins stadium war in bid to halt SCG fall from grace.

Ben Horne.

Sydney Daily Telegraph.

Tuesday, 24 October 2017.

PTG 2287-11565.

Cricket Australia (CA) has launched an audacious bid to have the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) promoted up the batting order in the New South Wales’ government's stadium funding war.  With the gGovernment expected to hand down the final allocation of its $A1.6 billion (£UK943 m) stadiums package inside the next month, CA chief executive James Sutherland has written to NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian to highlight the SCG’s fall from grace as a Test venue.

In a letter penned two Tuesdays ago, Sutherland lobbies for the redevelopment of the dated Brewongle-Churchill and O’Reilly Stands (which make up 60 per cent of public seating), and alerts the Premier to the fact that in terms of “public facilities and amenities” the iconic stadium is now ranked number five out of the six normal Test grounds around the country.

It’s understood Australian Football League (AFL) chief executive Gillon McLachlan has also joined Sutherland in personally writing to the government to push the funding claims of the city’s two oval venues the SCG and Spotless Stadium as mass speculation points towards ANZ and Allianz Stadiums being the high priorities in provisions for the billion dollar stadium network.

The bold argument being levelled by CA and the AFL to get their slice of the pie is that the SCG is the only ground in Sydney that plays host to two clubs that regularly draw 30,000-plus crowds in the Sydney Swans in football and the Sydney Sixers in Twenty20 cricket.  Sutherland’s letter also lobbies the Government for a second cricketing “hub” at Sydney Olympic Park to fix NSW Cricket’s facilities crisis.

It is understood it would take an estimated $A400 m (£UK236 m) out of the $1.6 bn (£UK943 m) pool to facilitate the requests CA is making for urgent facility upgrades and ventures at the SCG and Sydney Olympic Park.  Sutherland has implored the Premier to not forget about cricket, saying: “I am writing further to your recent meetings with Cricket NSW to outline [CA’s] priorities in relation to planned NSW Government investment in its stadiums network and [CA’s] support for the plans developed by Cricket NSW to improve cricket’s ageing and inadequate high performance training and administration facilities in Sydney”..

"With the launch of Perth Stadium”, continues Sutherland, "as well as recent developments at other major cricket venues, the public facilities and amenities of these stands now rank five of 6 six the Test cricket venues in Australia (with Hobart’s Bellerive Oval ranked sixth)”.  “In addition, both of the stands [that are our focus] were constructed prior to the neighbouring Allianz Stadium where significant safety and compliance issues have been recently identified by the SCG Trust, due to the venue’s age and condition. We expect there are similar issues with the Brewongle-Churchill and O’Reilly Stands”.

The NSW Government say they aren’t dismissing the claims of any of the major sports to lobby them directly, and will go back and brief the major stakeholders when final decisions are made.  A government spokesman said:  “NSW deserves the best sports stadiums in the country. We need world class sporting facilities to attract national and international events. The stadiums plan will be an investment in a network of stadiums.  We’re now working hard to get the sequencing in construction that will result in the best outcome for sports and fans”.

Sutherland points to the 380,000 fans that attended cricket at the SCG and Spotless last season.  However, CA is just as concerned about a facilities crisis in Sydney, where there are limited net and practice facilities for NSW, the state that makes up 55 per cent of the players in all Australian teams.  Women’s players are regularly unable to train on turf wickets at the SCG due to the lack of space, and Cricket NSW is proposing a model called “two clubs two hubs” — a push for centre of excellence style facilities at both Moore Park and Sydney Olympic Park, which would mimic the set-up in Melbourne where there are facilities at the MCG and Junction Oval.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 2,288

Thursday, 26 October 2017

• Curator “suspended” for allowing ‘bookmakers’ ODI pitch access [PTG 2288-11566].

• ECB tackles ‘tapping up’ by first-class clubs [PTG 2288-11567].

Curator “suspended” for allowing ‘bookmakers’ ODI pitch access.

PTG Editor.

Wednesday, 25 October 2017.

PTG 2288-11566.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has “suspended" Pandurang Salgaoncar, the Maharashtra Cricket Association's (MCA) curator, for "malpractice" that was captured on camera by undercover reporters ahead of Wednesday’s India-New Zealand One Day International (ODI) in Pune.  A ‘sting' operation conducted by India Today TV staff, who were posing as bookmakers, shows Salgaoncar talking with them about aspects of the pitch he was preparing for the ODI.

In the video as broadcast, Salgaoncar says that the pitch, number 8 of 15 at the ground, would have runs. "It is very good. It will garner 337 runs. And 337 will be chaseable”.  Wednesday’s ODI was only the third played at the ground, those two games seeing first innings totals of 8/304 and 7/350, the latter which was chased down.  The India-NZ ODI in fact saw a first innings by NZ of just 230, a score that India overhauled with six wickets to spare.

In addition to discussing pitch issues, Salgaoncar also took at least one of the ‘bookmakers’ out to the playing surface the day before the ODI was to be played, an action that is a beach of International Cricket Council (ICC) regulations.  Salgaoncar actually refers in the video to the fact that unauthorised “outsiders” are not allowed access to the pitch area, a comment that was made when a BCCI pitch administrator was nearby.

The BCCI suspended Salgaoncar and banned him from entering the stadium and a "neutral curator" from Mumbai, 150 km away, was brought in to take charge of pitch preparation. He inspected the pitch and, said the BCCI, "found it to be perfectly fine”.  Salgaoncar "has certainly let us down, an inquiry has been set up by the [MCA] to deal with the issue”, said a BCCI official,  "We are also working with the [BCCI] anti-corruption unit to get to the bottom of the matter as everybody has acted very swiftly to the claims of the sting operation”.

MCA president Abhay Apte said: "The MCA will be making a detailed enquiry on what has happened or what has appeared on the television. [As] MCA president, I have placed Mr Salgaoncar under immediate suspension with immediate effect and all his work has been withdrawn”.  An ICC spokesperson said: "We are now looking to establish the facts and will make no further comment whilst this is ongoing”.

Salgaoncar, 68, was a fast bowler from Maharashtra in the 1970s before taking up the role of curator with the MCA. He was involved in another pitch controversy earlier this year after the surface that was provided for the first Test between India and Australia in March was rated poor by match referee Chris Broad (PTG 2063-10448, 2 March 2017).  Broad was, by coincident, also working in that capacity in Wednesday’s ODI.

ECB tackles ‘tapping up’ by first-class clubs.

Elizabeth Ammon.

The Times.

Wednesday, 25 October 2017.

PTG 2288-11567.

The first-class cricket counties have been warned that they could face fines of up to £UK50,000 ($A86,050) if they “tap up” players from other clubs while they are still under contract.  The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) sent a warning letter to the counties after several allegations of players having been approached either by counties or by third parties on their behalf in the past couple of years.

Under the present regulations, players must give 28 days’ notice to their county if they wish to break their contract, unless they are in the final year of that deal, in which case they are free to have discussions with any other party after 10 April of that year. Some counties, particularly ones in Division Two, have become increasingly concerned that their players are being approached about potential moves to bigger clubs, prompting the ECB to send out a warning that they will be enforcing paragraph 7.1 of their player-registration regulations.

That paragraph states: “A county must not approach or be involved in discussions with any cricketer registered with another county or any agent or other person on his behalf with a view to offering him a trial or registering him or employing him in any capacity. A county which failed to comply with this regulation shall be liable to a fine of not less than £20,000 [$A34,420) and not more than £50,000 as determined by a disciplinary panel”.  Counties have also been reminded that tapping up includes informal approaches from other players or officials, even if it is in a social setting.

Meanwhile, the Marylebone Cricket Club and county chief executives on Tuesday received tender documents from the ECB to kick off the bidding process to host leading matches between 2020 and 2024, and to be host venues for the new eight-team city-based Twenty20 competition.  It is expected that all category A (Test match grounds) and category B (One Day International only venues) counties will submit bids to be a host venue for the T20 competition. It is understood that some other counties may also submit a bid, but they are unlikely to be successful because of the size of their grounds.

Competition will be fierce to host international matches because from 2020 onwards there will be a maximum of six Tests in a summer, down from seven. There are eight Test venues in England and Wales, so at least two will miss out on hosting one every year.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 2,289

Friday, 27 October 2017

 

• Newest pink balls have stronger seam thread, improved finish [PTG 2289-11568].

• Three more Afghanis make their first class debuts [PTG 2289-11569].

Two ‘beamers' sees bowler removed in womens’ ‘Ashes’ ODI [PTG 2289-11570].

500 game umpire driven by a sense of fair play [PTG 2289-11571].

MCA to allow 14 on team sheet in schools’ fixtures [PTG 2289-11572].

New book gives one side of India-Australia Test controversies [PTG 2289-11573].

Newest pink balls have stronger seam thread, improved finish.

Andrew Wu.

Fairfax Media.

Thursday, 26 October 2017.

PTG 2289-11568.

‘Kookaburra’, the Australian producer of pink balls, is optimistic its latest changes will be well received by players before it is used for this austral summer's Ashes day-night debut.  The opening round of the Sheffield Shield, which got underway in Adelaide, Brisbane and Perth in day-night formats on Thursday, is not only an examination for prospective Test players, but also the latest version of the pink ball.

While there were significant modifications made ahead of the 2016-17 season after widespread criticism from players, this time there have been only minor alterations.  ‘Kookaburra' have responded to player feedback about the seam by using a stronger thread, which the manufacturer believes will keep it harder for longer. The company has also made small changes to the pink coating used in a bid to improve its durability and visibility at night.

Players have trained with the latest version of the pink ball but are waiting to see how it behaves in match conditions before commenting publicly. It's understood they are privately not as concerned as they once were.  ‘Kookaburra' believes its current ball is a "much improved" model on its initial product, which was used in the seasons leading up to the inaugural day-night Test in late 2015.  Back then, players' main concerns were its visibility and ability to last 80 overs, and concerns worries over its durability prompted curators to leave extra grass on pitches (PTG 1706-8445, 8 December 2015).

"There are no major changes to the pink ball this year, the feedback from players last year was that there had been significant improvement, which was a good sign”, ‘Kookaburra' spokesman Shannon Gill said.  "We have been sourcing stronger thread for the seam, which we think will make the seam stronger for longer, which is what players wanted. We've updated and improved the pink finish on balls, so while a new ball won't look or play any different, we think the finish will be more resilient so visibility stays strong at night”.

‘Kookaburra’ says it has also received positive responses from Pakistan's players, who believe the ball for a day-night Test against Sri Lanka in Dubai earlier this month was an improvement on the one used last year at the same venue.  "That is a vote of confidence for these slight updates to seam strength and finish, but as we've said all along we will keep looking to innovate and test so we have the best possible pink ball”, Gill said.

"The feedback is that the ball is ahead of other pink balls in the market, and that we're coping much better with the perceived 'slowness' and 'softness' that pink balls have. Players have recently commented to us the vast improvement from the first version to today, and their greater experience with it seems to be making the ball less of a issue.  But by no means are we closing our ears to constructive feedback”.

In August, ‘Kookaburra’ and England-based manufacturer ‘Dukes’ engaged in a spat over whose pink balls were better (PTG 2227-11283, 11 August 2017).  The ‘Kookaburra’ version will be used in the day-night Test in Auckland in March when England are the visitors, however, New Zealand Cricket indicated two months ago it planned to trial standard ‘Dukes' balls at a level “below” the first class game this austral summer, the potential being they could be used in the domestic game there in 2018-19 (PTG 2234-11316, 21 August 2017).  As yet there have been no indications as to when and where and in what competition those trials will be conducted.

Three more Afghanis make their first class debuts.

PTG Editor.

Thursday, 26 October 2017.

PTG 2289-11569.

Three more Afghani match officials have made their first class debuts in the latest round of matches in the country’s first-ever first class domestic series.  Ahmed Shah Durrani, 42, an Afghan member of the International Cricket Council’s third-tier Development Panel and his countrymen Farooq Khan and Mohammad Sabir took the field at first class level on Thursday in the third and fourth games of what is a scheduled twenty-match series.  Five other Afghans stood at first class level for the first time last week (PTG 2282-11543, 20 October 2017)

Khan, 29, and Izatullah Safi, 39, who made his first class debut last week, are standing in the match in Kabul between the Boost and Mis Ainak regional sides, while Durrani, 42, and Sabir, 35, are over in Jalalabad for the fixture between the Speen Ghar and Amo regions.  The match referees for the two games are, respectively, Zarab Shah Zaheer and Hamim Khan, who were also debutees last week.  The series is progressing despite serious security incidents in a number of parts of the country (PTG 2284-11551, 22 October 2017). 

Two ‘beamers' sees bowler removed in womens’ ‘Ashes’ ODI.

PTG Editor.

Thursday, 26 October 2017.

PTG 2289-11570.

Australian fast-medium opening bowler Ellyse Perry was taken out of the attack for dangerous bowling during the second women's ‘Ashes' One Day International (ODI) against England in Coffs Harbour on Thursday evening.  After rain and hail stopped play for 20 minutes early in England's innings, Perry was sent out of the attack by umpires Claire Polosak and Shawn Craig in her third over, the fifth of the innings after sending down two chest-high no-balls in slippery conditions.  Medium paced bowler Thalia McGrath was brought on to deliver the last two balls and then the next six overs from that end.

Before the match began, Australian all-rounder Ash Gardner, who received a blow to the head while batting in the first ODI on Sunday and presented post-match with mild concussion symptoms, was ruled out of the latest game.  Team physiotherapist Kate Mahony said that Gardner had been placed on light duties ahead of the match but was unable to gain the required medical clearance to play.  “Following concussion testing [on Thursday] morning, symptoms have not cleared and unfortunately she will not be able to take part in this match”, Mahony said.

500 game umpire driven by a sense of fair play.

Kate Withers

Latrobe Valley Express.

Thursday, 26 October 2017.

PTG 2289-11571.

Adrian Fairley's love affair with cricket began in 1956 when he started playing with the Traralgon High School and Ex Students A grade side in Gipplsland, 160 km east of Melbourne.  Sixty years on, Fairley has amassed a slew of playing awards but it's his umpiring resume that really stands out, for last weekend the 75-year-old Traralgon resident took to the field as an umpire for the 500th time.

Players from the Centrals and MTY Raiders Traralgon and District Cricket Association (TDCA) B grade sides formed a guard of honour for Fairley in a show of respect for his years of service and the astonishing milestone.  "It has been a real privilege to be involved with the game of cricket during these last 60 years, both as a player for 28 years and now as an umpire for 32 years”, Fairley said.  "I didn't expect anything special to happen [at the game] because it might be a milestone but you're not doing it for that, you're doing it because you like being involved with cricket”.

The retired school teacher has umpired across all grades of cricket and likened officiating the game to commanding a classroom.  "We came to the conclusion that between you, the school and the kids, you knew the rules. I encountered a few tough kids over the years but in general it was okay”, he said.  "There have been several occasions when I have had to caution players for unsporting like behaviour and on a couple of occasions I've reported players.  Poor behaviour both on and off the field of play is unacceptable but I haven't had too much criticism over the years”.

Fairley's no-nonsense approach to officiating the game has made him a widely-respected figure in Gippsland and beyond and he was awarded a certificate of appreciation by Cricket Victoria for more than 50 years service to the game.  Despite the accolades and decades of experience, Fairley said there are still times he questions a call.  "Sometimes you think 'did he hit that?' but we haven't got any of the review systems that the major games have so you've just got to give it as you see it”, he said.  "We're not perfect and we make mistakes but the spirit of the law is that players accept the decision and get on with the game”.  

A life member of the TDCA and Traralgon and District Umpires Association, Fairley first got in to umpiring out of a sense of obligation.  "When I retired from cricket back in 1983 I decided to join the umpires because there was a major shortage”, he said.  "My knowledge of the laws and bylaws was adequate but after attending special meetings there was still a lot for me to learn.  I have come to realise that having respect [for] all players, umpires and officials is an extremely important aspect in conducting a game of cricket”.

After 32 years Fairley has grown to love his spot on the field and has no desire to hang up the hat any time soon.  "I have come to appreciate that standing behind the stumps is the best place to see the game of cricket”, he said.  "I still enjoy umpiring and I will continue to umpire for the remainder of the [current] season and hopefully beyond”.

MCA to allow 14 on team sheet in schools’ fixtures.

Gaurav Gupta.

The Times of India.

Thursday, 26 October 2017.

PTG 2289-11572.

After trying it out in the opening knock-out rounds of Mumbai's Harris Shield inter-school tournament last year, former Indian captain Sachin Tendulkar's 14 players-a-side idea is now set to be implemented in the finals of the Elite League.  The Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) will introduce the 14-team playing condition after a request Tendulkar and Mumbai Schools Sports Association (MSSA) cricket secretary, former Wankhede Stadium curator, Nadeem Memon. 

Tendulkar said on Wednesday: "I'm happy that more children will get the opportunity to play. The idea is to engage as many children to playing sport and leading a healthy life”.  Memon said: "Sachin's idea was appreciated by all the schools, coaches, players and their parents, because everybody is now getting a chance to play, especially the bowlers. Because of it 84 more players could play in the Harris Shield.  The idea gives coaches a lot of options, because it means that 11 good batsmen and bowlers can play out of 14 players in a side. You can nominate 14 players while going out for the toss, and pick the 11 best batsmen and bowlers from that 14".

New book gives one side of India-Australia Test controversies.

Daniel Brettig.

Cricinfo.

Thursday, 26 October 2017.

PTG 2289-11573.

Australian captain Steven Smith believes his opposite number Virat Kohli invented claims of abuse of Umpires Decision Review System (UDRS) protocols by the touring team as a form of gamesmanship during a this year's India-Australia Test series, in which Smith also described the Board of Control for Cricket in Indias’s (BCCI) decision to release select stump microphone audio of verbal exchanges as "pretty ordinary”.  The four Test series was marked by player behavioural problems, none of which brought censure from the International Cricket Council (ICC) PTG 2082-10541, 23 March 2017). 

In shedding light on the hot-tempered encounter between the two sides, where the unfancied visitors came exceptionally close to ending the hosts' long unbeaten run on home territory, Smith revealed how he is to this day mystified by Kohli's accusations, which were dropped and never again mentioned from the moment the series was decided. Smith called the claims "rubbish".

Kohli's accusations followed a moment amid Australia's fourth-innings chase of a small target on a difficult pitch in the second Test in Bangalore. When given out LBW to a shooter, Smith ran the decision past his batting partner Peter Handscomb, who instinctively motioned towards the team viewing area for advice - a move outlawed under UDRS protocols. Smith, too, turned around, before being sent on his way by the umpire Nigel Llong (PTG 2068-10468, 8 March 2017).

"It wasn't until afterwards that I realised what a talking point it had become, fuelled by Kohli's post-match claims that we'd called on off-field assistance twice earlier in the match to help our on-field deliberations”, Smith wrote in his recently published book. "As far as I was concerned, we'd never tried to consult with the dressing room beforehand and although he said he'd brought those previous occasions to the notice of the umpires, I can say categorically that we were never spoken to by either those umpires or match referee Chris Broad about any such breaches in protocol".

Smith also remains annoyed by how the BCCI chose to highlight an exchange between Ravindra Jadeja and Matthew Wade during the decisive Dharamsala Test match, during a series in which there were many instances of heated discussion among opponents. Smith additionally pointed out that ICC regulations prohibit broadcasters from airing audio captured on stump microphones when the ball is dead.

"It was an example of the banter that took place on the field, but it gave a very one-sided view of what was happening”, Smith wrote. "There would have been plenty of examples that could have been released of Indian players engaging with me and my team, such as when they were constantly in the ears of Matt Renshaw when he resumed his first innings in Pune having had to retire ill because of diarrhoea. Umpire Ian Gould asked Matthew and Ravindra to cut it out in Dharamsala and that was where it ended. So to rake it up in the way that it was benefited no-one.

"What was overlooked in the minor controversy that followed was that, under ICC guidelines, the broadcaster shouldn't have been broadcasting audio from the stump microphones, except for instances when the ball was in play, and it certainly wasn't when Matthew and Ravindra were having their discussions. But whatever the rights and wrongs of the situation, it was a timely reminder to players of both sides that the old adage of what happens on the field, stays on the field, no longer applies”.

Looking more broadly at the on-field behaviour of the Australian side, Smith said he had no qualms about his team seeking a verbal edge over opponents when matches get tight. He also took issue with the perception that his team was "nice as pie" on the field when dominating a match and only went into verbal aggressor mode when things were not going their way.  "I know there is a view that has us as the ugly Aussies…  ...when the opposition gets success against us then we are quick to get into them verbally, but I don't see it like that”, he wrote. 

"It's simply that, as a group of players, we don't like backing down in a contest and the greater the intensity of the action on the field the more we all back each other up.  If that's through the odd word with our opponents so be it. The umpires are there to step in if anything is out of order and I don't think there was much, if anything, that fitted the bill through the series”.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 2,290

Friday, 27 October 2017

(Second edition)

 

 Groundsmen to be included in ICC anti-corruption education loop? [PTG 2290-11574].

• Womens’ Ashes matches moved to main TV channel [PTG 2290-11575].

Captain seeks 'clarity' over bowler’s removal [PTG 2290-11576].

Ground problems a challenge for Tasmanian Premier League start [PTG 2290-11577].

Groundsmen to be included in ICC anti-corruption education loop?

Nagraj Gollapudi.

Cricinfo.

Friday, 27 October 2017.

PTG 2290-11574.

Groundsmen and curators will likely be brought into the anti-corruption education loop in the future, as investigations into the Pune pitch controversy intensify (PTG 2288-11566, 26 October 2017).  In a sign of how seriously it is treating the matter, the International Cricket Council (ICC) has sent additional officials from its Anti-Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU) in Dubai to assist with investigations.

Hours before the second One Day International (ODI) between India and New Zealand on Wednesday, Pandurang Salgaoncar the head groundsman was suspended, pending an inquiry, for alleged "malpractice" captured by two undercover reporters from an Indian television network.  It is the second time in recent years the ACSU has investigated a groundsman. In January 2016, the ICC suspended former Sri Lankan player Jayananda Warnaweera, curator at Galle International Stadium, for three years for failing to cooperate with an ACSU investigation (PTG 1742-8662, 21 January 2016).

Bir Singh, the ACSU officer travelling with the Indian and New Zealand teams, is understood to have already started his probe and will be joined by colleagues from Dubai. That investigation will be carried out independently and will not involve the Board of Control for Cricket in India’s (BCCI) anti-corruption unit. In addition to Salgaoncar, the ICC ACSU is likely to also speak to the undercover reporters that carried out the sting.

India Today TV, which carried out the sting operation as it also did in 2012 when umpires were involved (PTG 1001-4862, 9 October 2012), has said the reporters shot the video with Salgaoncar last Monday and Tuesday, but a BCCI official said only the ACSU probe would be able to confirm that. In the video, the curator is seen telling the reporters that the pitch would be full of runs. In the game itself, New Zealand were restricted to 230, a target India chased down with four overs to spare on a pitch that slowed during the latter part of the match.

Though it is not yet clear what charges Salgaoncar could face, a BCCI official said that in apparently allowing what appear to be unaccredited personnel into the ground and onto the pitch, there is a case for "misconduct". According to the anti-corruption code, no unaccredited personnel can be on the ground, let alone the pitch, days before an international match. "He had no business giving them access or information about the pitch”, the official said.

The BCCI has since alerted groundstaff at the Green Park stadium in Kanpur, which hosts the ODI series' decider on Sunday, to not allow any outsiders onto the ground. Only authorised staff can go near the pitch and media will not be allowed onto the ground. All the gates at Green Park have been locked and security personnel have been asked to only allow groundstaff and Uttar Pradesh Cricket Association (the ground's host) officials entry.

Once its investigations are wrapped up, the ICC's ACSU is likely to point out to the BCCI the lack or absence of anti-corruption information available to curators and local groundstaff across India. The BCCI has only made it mandatory for players and coaches to adhere to the anti-corruption code. With just one ACSU officer present at the ground, and usually manning the players and match officials area, it is often difficult to widen his gaze and keep an eye on groundstaff as well.

"The curators and groundstaff should be brought under the ambit of the anti-corruption education program to develop the awareness”, the BCCI official said. "They should be careful who they speak with including the media. And if any approach is made they should immediately report the matter and follow the same protocol that is followed by the players. That is the main takeaway”.

A senior Indian curator welcomed the suggestion. "We should not disclose anything on the pitch to anybody including media. We are not authorised and any communication should go from the BCCI. So educating the groundstaff is a good idea”.  But the curator also pointed out that Ramesh Mahmunkar, the member of the BCCI's grounds and pitches committee, was present in the ground when Salgaoncar was speaking with the reporters on the pitch. 

Salgaoncar, in fact, is seen referring to him in the video when telling the reporters that protocol does not allow them to be on the pitch. Usually, however, it is the head groundsman - in this case Salgaoncar - who holds control of the ground and makes sure that only authorised personnel can enter the ground and go near to the pitch.  The Maharashtra Cricket Association's (MCA) too, is in favour of educating the ground staff. "Because some times people talk very loosely”, an MCA official said, “they have to monitor what is said and to whom”.

Womens’ Ashes matches moved to main TV channel.

Laura Jolly.

CA web site.

Thursday, 26 October 2017.

PTG 2290-11575.

Australian broadcaster Channel Nine has promoted Sunday’s third Women’s Ashes One Day International (ODI) to its main channel.  The first two ODIs of the multi-format Ashes were broadcast live and free on Nine’s digital channel 9GEM, drawing a national average audience of 122,531.  Those figures were enough to convince Nine to promote Sunday’s third match in Coffs Harbour to their primary channel where international mens’ cricket is normally aired.

The second Twenty20 International between the two sides which is to be played at Canberra’s Manuka Oval on 19 November has also been moved from GEM to Nine, while the network has hinted further matches may also be shifted to the main channel.  Australian captain Haynes described the move as “awesome”.  “To have this whole series covered in that way is great to be part of as a player.  I think we’ve seen players really step up as well”.

Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland praised the decision from Channel Nine.  “We’re very grateful to the Nine Network for their support in moving Sunday’s match to Channel Nine”, Sutherland said.  “The support the Australian Women’s Cricket team for the Ashes has been phenomenal and we very much want to provide as many opportunities as we can to ensure we keep pushing the fantastic story of this squad and their performances”.  

Nine head of cricket Brent Williams said: “The Australian and English sides are the top two ranked sides in the world, and the Aussies are the current holder of The Ashes, so we encourage the nation to get behind them to beat the Poms”.

Sunday’s telecast will be a bonus for female umpires as Claire Polosak, together with CA National Umpire panel member Greg Davidson, will be out on the ground managing the match (PTG 2275-11511, 14 October 2017).

Captain seeks 'clarity' over bowler’s removal.

Sam Ferris.

CA web site.

Friday, 27 October 2017.

PTG 2290-11576.

Australian captain Rachael Haynes has called for third umpire intervention to provide clarity around decisions like the one that led to the banning of fast bowler Ellyse Perry from bowling in Thursday’s second Ashes One Day International (ODI) (PTG 2289-11570, 27 October 2017).  Perry was removed from the attack in just her third over and sixth of England’s innings after bowling back-to-back waist-high full-tosses at England captain Heather Knight.

International Cricket Council ODI playing conditions and the game’s Laws state that if a bowler bowls two dangerous non-pitching deliveries that are considered likely to inflict physical injury on the batter, then the umpire shall suspend the bowler immediately.  Heavy rain and hail made the outfield slippery at the start of England’s run chase, and while the first full-toss was in line with Knight, albeit well above her head, the follow-up delivery was comfortably outside off-stump, cut away by Knight for one. 

“I did question that”, Haynes said when asked if she thought Perry’s deliveries were dangerous.  “That’s how I understood it as well, that they had to be dangerous deliveries at the batter and I certainly didn’t think … it wasn’t intentional from [Perry] in terms of how those deliveries came out.  That was a question that I asked and I was told ‘No, if it’s over waist height that the bowler is off’.  In the context of the match when there’s not clarity from me it would be good if perhaps clarity could be got from the third umpire.  But at the end of the day we were definitely happy to accept it and move on”.

Ground problems a challenge for Tasmanian Premier League start.

Adam Smith.

The Mercury.

Friday, 27 October 2017.

PTG 2290-11577.

Tasmania players vying for national selection are being forced to play on substandard pitches, and lower grade games are being cancelled because, a month into the new Cricket Tasmania Premier League (CTPL) season, grounds are not up to scratch.  Cricket officials are fuming some venues are still unavailable after four first grade rounds, a situation that badly affected the Tasmanian state side’s preparation for their first Sheffield Shield game.

Last weekend two CTPL first grade matches featuring seven players in Tasmania’s Shield squad were relocated to an outer suburban ground with a slow, low pitch — vastly different conditions the state side will face against Western Australia in the Shield game at the traditionally bouncy WACA.  Tasmanian coach Adam Griffith said a lack of adequate facilities could have longer term ramifications for recruiting players and the development of juniors and fears players will be lost to other sports.  “We want to become a destination state which gives opportunity for players to come down and show what they can do”,  Griffith said. 

CTPL club South Hobart-Sandy’s home ground Queenbrough is still out of action, as is the King George V ground, and University Oval will be used for the first time on Saturday.  The Tasmanian Cricket Association ground, which was the main venue for cricket in southern Tasmania before Bellrive Oval was developed, is unlikely to be ready until early in the New year because it is being resurfaced.  The four grounds are all used for Australian Rules Football games during the winter.  All that has led to eight men’s and women’s first grade games being moved and a number of lower grade matches shifted or abandoned.

Hobart City Council manages the grounds and general manager Nick Heath said it did its best to balance the needs of all sporting codes.  “It is always a challenge to maintain the quality of our grounds between the winter and summer seasons”, Heath said.  “As ground providers, we are caught between the various sporting codes and the ever-increasing demand for quality playing surfaces.  We will continue to deliver the best quality and safest surfaces that we can. We have a great relationship with all sporting codes and clubs and encourage everyone to work closely with us during the change of seasons”.

The crossover of football and cricket rosters has in the past affcted the ability for some grounds to have good cricket pitches prepared early in the season, but Cricket Tasmania is frustrated at the length of time it has taken this year.  “It is unusual for the number of grounds to be unavailable for the start of the season that has been the case this year”, Cricket operations manager Chris Garrett said.  “The situation has implications for our international and national players, in addition to lower grade participants including females and juniors who simply want to play cricket.  We recognise local government is a significant supporter of club cricket, however discussions will be necessary to avoid a repeat in future so that cricket can commence in the usual long-established timelines”.

Earlier this year former Australian batsman Michael Hussey conducted a three-month investigation into the sport in Tasmania and made 33 recommendations, one of which was the requirement to improve facilities.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 2,291

Saturday, 28 October 2017

 

• Top-tier SACA PL debut for first female umpire [PTG 2291-11578].

• Three Indian umpires reach the 50 first class match mark [PTG 2291-11579].

• Politician describes proposed BCCI reforms as ‘overzealous' [PTG 2291-11580].

• WA state second XI player found guilty of ’dissent’ [PTG 2291-11581].

• Ireland confirms Pakistan Test dates [PTG 2291-11582].

• Zim cash crunch set to affect player, match officials salaries [PTG 2291-11583].

• WADA reports Indian domestic player tested positive for banned substance [PTG 2291-11584].

• Cricket in good health, but not its soul [PTG 2291-11585].

Top-tier SACA PL debut for first female umpire.

PTG Editor.

Saturday, 28 October 2017.

PTG 2290-11578.

Eloise Sheridan will make history on Sunday when she becomes the first woman to stand in a South Australian Cricket Association (SACA) men’s first grade Premier League (PL) match in its 144 year history. Sheridan, 32, becomes the third women standing at PL first grade level in Australia this season alongside Ashlee Kovalevs in Perth and Claire Polosak in Sydney (PTG 2287-11563, 25 October 2017).

The schoolteacher told local media she not anticipating any problems with players when she stands with South Australian state umpire panel member Craig Thomas in the one-day match between Glenelg and Southern District at Glenelg Oval.  She said she “actually found the men to be really nice to me”.  “They’re better behaved towards me than they are to any of the men I’ve umpired with.  It’s a big opportunity so I’m a bit nervous, but it should be all good.  Whatever I can do to help women in cricket, I’m happy to be a part of”.

Sheridan started playing for SACA's Northern Districts club at the age of 12 and later had a stint at the Sturt club before helping Kensington win the 2013-14 women’s first grade premiership.  When the former state junior wicketkeeper’s aching knees ended her playing career prematurely she looked for another way to remain involved in the game.  “I thought about umpiring, did a few games and then got hooked”, she said.  “It can be really nerve-racking, particularly if a team is very good at appealing.  But even if I know someone is out, taking my time to make that decision and making sure I’m calm in that decision-making has been really helpful for me”.

A vocational education teacher, Sheridan has risen very rapidly through the umpiring ranks - in fact after just 11 matches in the mens’ PL competition - another indication of the priority cricket in Australia is giving to female officials.  She started with one SACA mens’ PL fourth grade match last December and finished the 2016-17 season with six further games in the thirds.  In the lead up to her first grade debut she will have been on-field in four PL second grade games.

In Sydney, Manjinder Sandhu, another female umpire, stood in a Sydney Cricket Association PL fifth grade game earlier this month bring to ten the number of women known to be standing in men’s PL fixtures so far this summer.   Apart from her, Michelle Evans and Polosak in Sydney and Kovalevs in Perth, Melbourne has Sarah Fishley, Brisbane Karen Naylor, Canberra Deanne Young and Margaret Marshall, and Adelaide Mary Waldron and Sheridan.

Three Indian umpires reach the 50 first class match mark.

PTG Editor.

Friday, 27 October 2017.

PTG 2290-11579.

Three Indian umpires, Ulhas Gandhe, Belur Ravi and Umesh Dubey, have all stood in their 50th first class matches in Ranji Trophy series games in the past week.  Gandhe, 42, who played 37 first class and 25 List A games for Vidarbha between 1993 and 2005, debuted as an umpire in a first class game in November 2006, something Ravi, 51, did way back in December 1991 at the age of 26, and Dubey, 54, in November 1999.   Much more recently, their colleague Chirra Ravikanthreddy, 36, made his first class debut in late September in a tour match between the Indian and New Zealand ‘A’ sides.  He then proceeded over the next three weeks to chalk up another three in the on-going Ranji Trophy series.

Politician describes proposed BCCI reforms as ‘overzealous'.

Dhananjay Mahapatra.

The Times of India.

Friday, 27 October 2017.

PTG 2290-11580.

Veteran Indian politician Sharad Pawar, a former chairman of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and president of the International Cricket Council, has told the country’s Supreme Court that “overzealousness" in reforming cricket played under the auspices of the BCCI could destroy the game.  Pawar also alleged that the draft BCCI constitution prepared by the Court-appointed BCCI Committee of Administration, had gone much beyond the Lodha panel's recommendations the Court agreed to in July last year (PTG 1880-9420, 19 July 2016).

Pawar's submission to the Court said: "Today, the BCCI finds itself in the eye of the storm mainly because it is the richest cricket body in the world, which has further led to a perception that its working lacks transparency and previous litigation involving issues of nepotism and conflict of interest have further strengthened that perception”.

Pawar, 76, a former Chief Minister of the state of Maharashtra, and Minister of Defence and Minister of Agriculture at national level, conceded that "as in any kind of administration” there were "inherent deficiencies" in the functioning of the BCCI and that "some reformative steps need to be taken to remove existing defects and ensure transparency”.

Arguing against Lodha’s one-state one-vote criteria though, Pawar said it "is certainly a violation of the right of a BCCI state association member”.  He pointed to the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA), of which he has been president on three occasions, and its "rich contribution to development of the sport, both in terms of number of players and infrastructure”.  In his view depriving the MCA of BCCI voting rights in the name of one-state one-vote "would not help in infusing transparency in the functioning of the board”.

Pawar stepped down as MCA president last December for the Lodha committee recommendations accepted by the Supreme Court barred anyone active in politics and those above 70 years from taking part in the administration of cricket - both of which excludes him from cricket administration in India.

WA state second XI player found guilty of ’dissent’.

PTG Editor.

Friday, 27 October 2017.

PTG 2290-11581.

Cricket Australia (CA) announced on Friday that Western Australia’s Nick Hobson had been reprimanded for showing dissent at an umpiring decision during his side’s state second XI match against Tasmania in Perth nearly two weeks ago.  Hobson was reported by umpires, local James Hewitt and David Taylor of Queensland, for an offence that occurred when he was dismissed during his side's first innings, score sheets showing he was given out LBW.  

CA, which does not give any details of the precise nature of the dissent, says match Referee Terry Prue considered the report from Hewitt and Taylor and proposed a sanction of a reprimand.  Hobson admitted the offence and accepted the sanction, therefore no hearing was required.

Fourteen umpires, four from CA’s second-tier Development Panel (DP), Darren Close, Donovan Koch, Nathan Johnstone and Taylor, and another ten from ‘state' panels in the Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales, South Australia, Victoria and Western Australias, plus fourteen scorers and six match referees, have been appointed to manage the first nine games of the second XI season up until the end of November.  

Taylor has in addition to the Perth game also another closer to home on the Gold Coast, Tasmania's Close one in Melbourne, Johnstone was flown from Perth to a game in Adelaide, and Koch has a game on Queensland’s Gold Coast that is to be played the week before his first class debut at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (PTG 2280-11538, 19 October 2017).

Another who will travel interstate for games is Troy Penman of NSW who has been allocated second XI matches in Canberra, Perth and at home in Sydney.  His NSW state umpire colleague Marc Nickl has one game in Sydney, Perth-based Hewitt and Trent Steenboldt each a single game in that city, South Australians Luke Uthenwoldt and Craig Thomas two and one games each in Adelaide respectively, and Victorians Daryl Brigham, Stephen Brne and Dale Ireland all one game at home.  Penman’s on-field colleague in Canberra was former CA Umpires Manager Andrew Scotford (PTG 919-4480, 23 March 2012).

Six of the nine members of CA’s second-tier referees’ Supplementary Panel have been assigned matches: Prue in Perth, John Biddies in Adelaide, Kent Hannam in Canberra and Melbourne, Ian Thomas on the Gold Coast, Tim Donahoo in Sydney and Damian Herft in Melbourne.  The scorers are: in Adelaide David Billett and John Tregloan; Canberra Rammanee Shivakkumar and M Frost; Perth Lance Catchpole and Sandy Wheeler; Melbourne Glenn Davey, Jim Hamilton, Jim Higgs and Craig Reece; Sydney Cheryl Brain and Geoff Rogers; and on the Gold Coast Cliff Howard and Ted Williams.

Ireland confirms Pakistan Test dates.

RTE Ireland.

Saturday, 28 October 2017.

PTG 2290-11582.

Ireland’s first ever men’s Test cricket match is to be played from 11-15 May next year with Pakistan the opponents (PTG 2274-11508, 13 October 2017).  Reports suggest Malahide outside Dublin, a ground that has hosted five first class games since 1991, is the frontrunner to host the Test, with Stormont in Belfast where six first class matches have been played since 2005, and Bready in Londonderry, which saw its first first class game this August, also under consideration.  Cricket Ireland (CI) said a decision on the venue will be announced "in the coming weeks".

Stormont came in for some criticism because of a washout in Ireland’s One Day International (ODI) against West Indies last month, with heavy overnight rain ruining the prospect of play despite a sunny morning in Belfast. CI has looked at measures to mitigate the impact of poor weather at major fixtures, including sourcing volunteers to help the groundsmen.

Chief executive Warren Deutrom said: "Our washed-out ODI against West Indies gave us much to ponder. On reflection, there is probably too much simple acceptance of bad weather affecting our games given our geography, and probably not enough being done to mitigate it.  The fact it rained most of the afternoon and previous fortnight isn't the point, rather it was the apparent lack of resource around getting play started when it was dry and sunny - which was nothing to do with groundsman Phil McCormick, whose personal efforts were extraordinary.  We know we are being held to a higher standard now that we are a [International Cricket Council] Full Member - we need to look in the mirror on this one [and do] a lot of work".

Zim cash crunch set to affect player, match officials salaries.

Firdose Moonda.

Cricinfo.

Friday, 27 October 2017.

PTG 2290-11583.

Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) has again been hit by a financial crunch which could affect salaries for all employees, including players and match officials. In a memo circulated within the board, Nesta Vaki, ZC's head of Corporate Affairs and Human Resources, informed the staff that they will only receive half their October salaries at the end of this month and that the organisation will "do its best to rectify the situation by end November 2017”.

No reasons have been given for the cash-flow problems.   ZC has confirmed that the "decision to withhold part of the staff salaries was in order for ZC to balance its strained cash flows, and this course of action was advised to staff after ZC had exhausted all other possible alternatives”.  The board also noted in a statement its displeasure that "confidential internal correspondence has been deliberately leaked to the media". It said: "The situation is no different to any other company that is experiencing severe cash flow difficulties, and ZC's own legacy financial issues have been well publicised and are in the process of being addressed".

Though ZC's structure of corporate governance has improved significantly in recent months, it has also incurred some hefty costs. The ongoing two-Test series against West Indies in Bulawayo is set to be the board's biggest expense this month, and it has also spent money on hosting domestic competitions and upgrades for grounds to host the 2019 World Cup Qualifier next March.  The issue, however, has not as yet had any effect on cricket in Zimbabwe. Last season, the Logan Cup, the country's first-class competition, was delayed several times after players opted to strike when salaries went unpaid (PTG 2025-10251, 16 January 2017).

WADA reports Indian domestic player tested positive for banned substance.

Press Trust of India.

Saturday, 28 October 2017.

PTG 2290-11584.

One of 153 players ‘registered’ with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) tested positive for a banned substance in 2016, according to the latest World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) report.  If confirmed the player would be the second in the country after former India U-19 player Pradeep Sangwan to fail such a test.  In 2013, he tested positive for 'Stanozolol', an anabolic steroid, while playing for the Indian Premier League’s (IPL) Kolkata Knight Riders (PTG 1214-5845, 20 October 2013), was handed an 18-month ban, and returned to first class cricket early in 2015.

According to WADA, 138 BCCI players were tested 'In Competition’ in 2016, presumably in a domestic series such as the Ranji Trophy, Duleep Trophy, IPL or Irani Trophy.  When contacted about the matter a top BCCI official, who handles the specific area said: "We haven't received any report from the WADA so we are not in a position to release any details”.  WADA has not indicated which banned substance was involved in the latest case.

Cricket in good health, but not its soul.

R. Mohan.

Deccan Chronicle.

Friday, 27 October 2017.

PTG 2290-11585.

Cricket is in great health if you consider the money that is flowing in, at least in India.  Ten years of the Indian Premier League are over and the gravy train is all set to roll on into the second decade with renewed power and a bigger bag of money. The body of cricket is in the pink of health. How about its soul? That is a good question to which the answer is the soul is perhaps not in the pink of health, but coping well enough with the challenges.

One of cricket’s sagacious onlookers, Matthew Engel, who used to edit ‘Wisden' in the 1990s, says cricket is rotting away and everything worthwhile about it is being destroyed. “The authorities are ruining so much of the game many love as they concentrate on Twenty20 money and power – and the [planned] ludicrous Test final is the last straw”, he writes. He is entitled to his opinion but it does appear the administrators are at least trying to give Test cricket some meaning by getting the Test championship going at last.

The rules are complicated. The fighting draw may be given the short shrift in the modern yearning for results in everything, including in the five-day or even four-day format of Tests. But at least it may give some meaning to otherwise dreary series played between ill-matched teams in an era in which travelling beyond home is becoming an onerous task for Test squads. There is a lot of Test cricket being played these days, though much of it is sadly in front of empty stands. However much of a traditionalist we old cricket lovers may be, the fact remains that no one is willing to sit through five days of a Test anymore. The world has changed.

T20 cricket may be repetitive to the point of us not being able to remember what happened in the last game we saw because cricket has been reduced to an imitation of baseball with a six-hitting contest passing off as a simulation of ‘home runs’. The ideal balance between bat and ball which made for very competitive cricket and rendered the game a real contest of skills may be disappearing thanks to T20 cricket.  The way the batsmen belt the ball these days makes a mockery of all the time spent in pitch preparation, etc. New rules restricting blade thickness etc. may not be that much of a dampener as bat technology has improved out of sight.

A single Test match as eliminator in a Test championship is hardly likely to bring out the best characteristics of long format cricket. There is also a point to be made about a Test final at Lord’s which may see a couple of outsiders play for the top prize in 2021. How would India, now top of the Test charts for quite a while, fare if it gets to the Lord’s final? How are Team India rated the top side if they have never won a Test series in Australia or South Africa?  There are points to ponder. However, there is solace to be drawn that Test cricket is being given its place in a three-format calendar and it survives because there is so much lolly from T20 to keep the circuit going.

It’s difficult to imagine cricket being in such good health if the T20 had not been born 10 years ago  with the first T20 World Championship in South Africa. India’s win there awoke a sleeping giant in Indian cricket. You could blame the format for later ruining the rest of cricket in the eyes of the new converts to the international sport. To convert the GenNext cricket fan into a Test-match loving will prove to be as difficult as changing the fast foodie into a gourmet. But then the idea of a composite financial health with T20 and One Day Internationals (ODI) supporting Test match cricket is the economics of new cricket. It may have begun with the ODI fans helping the Test format survive.

The mercenaries of the new cricket era like Chris Gayle and Kevin Pietersen may appear to have overwhelmed the system by turning up on every continent to slog for some T20 outfit with a rare name no one can remember for long. But they are just the lucky ones who milked the T20 riches to make a fortune of fortunes. But do remember that their base was still the Test arena, which is what gave them the skill to adapt to T20. Classical music doesn’t shut down for travelling troubadours and wandering minstrels. So too will Test cricket survive, perhaps in a lesser way without on-site spectators.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 2,292

Monday, 30 October 2017

 

• Umpire shot in 2009 Lahore attack comes full circle [PTG 2292-11586].

• Bowler takes a triple hat-trick [PTG 2292-11587].

• CV select new Umpire Manager [PTG 2292-11588].

• Bold bid to stage T20 World Cup in NYC's Central Park [PTG 2292-11589].

Umpire shot in 2009 Lahore attack comes full circle.

Shahid Hashmi.

Wisden India.

Sunday, 29 October 2017.

PTG 2292-11586.

Eight-and-a-half years ago Pakistan umpire Ahsan Raza miraculously survived an attack by gunmen on the van carrying match officials to the Gaddafi stadium in Lahore for what was to have been the third day of the second Test between Pakistan and Sri Lanka (PTG 380-2021, 4 March 2009). On Sunday Raza, who was seriously injured in that atrocity, officiated in the third and final Twenty20 International (T20I) between Sri Lanka and Pakistan at the same venue. 

The prime target of the dozen terrorists in 2009 was the Sri Lankan team, but once their bus sped off they attacked the officials’ van, killing the driver on the spot (PTG 401-2129, 1 April 2009).  Raza, who was the fourth umpire in that Test, was hit by a bullet and was shielded by match referee Chris Broad.  He was rushed to hospital and underwent emergency surgery to repair a collapsed lung and damaged liver, then remained in intensive care for 26 days and needed two dozen bottles of blood to survive.

Gaza returned to umpiring three months after the attack (PTG 420-2220, 10 May 2009), and the following year made his debut as a third umpire in a Test match, not in Pakistan but at Lord’s the home of cricket (PTG 633-3156, 14 July 2010).

Speaking in the lead up to Sunday's game Raza, 42, said he was as relieved as honoured to be umpiring in the T20I.  “I should not be alive but I am thankful to the Almighty that I have that honour.  You can’t forget a mishap like that.  I had recited Kalma [an Islamic religious verse] after I was hit by a bullet. How I survived is a miracle and has strengthened my belief in Allah and I learnt that one should never give up in life”.

Bowler takes a triple hat-trick.

Latrobe Valley Express.

Sunday, 29 October 2017.

PTG 2292-11587.

A bowler playing in the third grade of Victoria’s Latrobe in the Central Gippsland cricket competition took a triple hat-trick two weekends ago - five wickets in five balls across his fifth, sixth and seventh overs.  Yallourn North’s Nick Gooden did it almost immediately after notching a hat-trick earlier in the innings against Latrobe, overall taking eight wickets in ten balls to finish with 8/17.  

 

 

Gooden gave generous praise to the groundsmen for giving him a green deck to work with, and modestly suggested the ball simply hit the right spots. He told local media: “There’s nothing special about it — there’s definitely no pace involved.  I said to the boys ‘let’s just roll through these guys and get off and have a beer’. I think we were having a beer at about three o’clock”.

Gooden notes that this is also somewhat of a comeback story after he’d earlier failed with the bat, making a golden duck while being dismissed on the third ball of the day.  “[That] was pretty embarrassing.  I came off and thought to myself ‘I hate cricket, I’m never playing again’”.  But after his success  with the ball and the celebrations that followed his wife’s now told him "to keep a bit of a lid on it”.

CV select new Umpire Manager.

PTG Editor.

Monday, 30 October 2017.

PTG 2292-11588.

Cricket Victoria (CV) is reported to have selected Jason Leonard-Scott, one of its Premier League (PL) first grade umpires, as its new Umpire Manager in place of Richard Patterson who last Wednesday joined Cricket Australia as its Umpire Education Manager (PTG 2265-11463, 3 October 2017). 

Leonard-Scott, 44, started umpiring in the Mornington Peninsula Cricket Association (MPCA) south-east of Melbourne early this decade and was appointed to CV’s PL panel ahead of the 2013-14 austral summer.  A primary school teacher by profession he, in addition to standing in CV matches, is also the MPCA’s Umpires’ Advisor, a role he has had since the 2015-16 season. It is understood he is to start in his new role with CV in mid-November. 

Bold bid to stage T20 World Cup in NYC's Central Park.

Ben Horne.

Sydney Daily Telegraph

Sunday, 29 October 2017.

PTG 2292-11589.

Cricket is determined to take a chunk out of the Big Apple, and Cricket Australia (CA) chief executive James Sutherland reckons they should be going straight for the core.  With Yankee Stadium the wrong shape and the international cricket ground in Florida too irrelevant, Sutherland is asking why the iconic New York landmark, Central Park, smack bang in the middle of Manhattan, can’t host Australia v India in a World Twenty20 showpiece for the ages.

The world’s most iconic park, which is visited by 25 million people every year, has packed in hundreds of thousands of fans for superstar concerts like Bon Jovi, Mariah Carey and Paul Simon, and now Virat Kohli and David Warner are being imagined as the next headline acts to grace the open green pastures of what could be cricket’s first-ever pop-up stadium.

The board of the International Cricket Council (ICC) and CA are pushing for a World T20 Championship series to be played in the United States in the next eight-year international cycle, between 2023-2031, which they believe with the right planning and investment can emulate FIFA’s hugely successful World Cup in the United States back in 1994.

However, unlike football which simply used big time rectangular National Football League stadiums located in every city, finding appropriate cricket venues remains an enormous obstacle for administrators to overcome.  When former Australian player Shane Warne and India’s Sachin Tendulkar took their band of All-Star globetrotters to America a couple of years ago, the crowds in New York, Houston and Los Angeles were stunning (PTG 1575-7571, 24 June 2015), but the legitimacy of cricket played on elongated baseball diamonds was ridiculous.  Equally, attempts to make a big deal out of cricket played on proper fields in the back waters of Florida is virtually pointless.

Enter Central Park — the 341 Hectare oasis in the middle of the world’s most buzzing metropolis, which in Sutherland’s crystal ball, could find the room next to its zoo, ice rinks and museums to play host to a multimillion-dollar pop-up cricket ground, complete with temporary grand stands, light towers, a drop-in pitch and the potential to break broadcasting records.

“Look, this might be a ridiculous dream. But just imagine Australia versus India played at Central Park on Manhattan Island”, said Sutherland.  “We know that within 50km or so of New York City there are literally tens of thousands of cricket fans. And we also know the propensity of Indian fans to travel from all over America.  There’s lots of expats there. To that end. We don’t need to just look at the traditional American stadiums, we can also look a little bit creatively at the opportunity to play a big international match, to make a statement in an iconic place like Central Park".

“Perhaps there are other good examples of places across America where you could play a big game like that with temporary grandstands. My personal view is that it would be great at some stage in the next cycle for the ICC to commit to having a world event in the USA. Why not? … Bring big games and big names to the country … It’s one of the biggest commercial markets in the world”.  Sutherland knows the Central Park idea seems out there, but he says cricket must explore every avenue to cash in on its biggest untapped market and that it must happen in the next decade.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 2,293

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

 

• Staff action behind three-day ‘CricHQ' system shutdown [PTG 2293-11590].

• BCCI under pressure over player drug testing [PTG 2293-11591].

Despite taking 8/73 bowler remains a pink ball sceptic [PTG 2293-11592].

• Non-striker reprimanded for dissent [PTG 2293-11593].

Staff action behind three-day ‘CricHQ' system shutdown.

Hamish Rutherford.

Fairfax Media.

Tuesday, 31 October 2017.

PTG 2293-11590.

A three-day outage of New Zealand cricket technology company CricHQ's platforms last week only ended after technology staff struck a deal with receivers KordaMentha over unpaid wages for them and their colleagues.  Last Friday evening, hours before cricket clubs up and down the country were due to commence play, possibility on paper scoring sheets, CricHQ's platforms were brought online.  The company was placed into receivership two weeks ago after failing to secure new investment (PTG 2279-11530, 18 October 2017).

New Zealand Cricket warned clubs last week to prepare to score games without the widely-used technology.  Reports say that as a result they were all geared up to use manual scoring systems on the Saturday before being advised late on Friday night that CricHQ’s systems were back up and running.  Original advice provided to clubs suggested a technology issue led to the three-day shutdown, however, it is now clear action by CricHQ staff was behind the break.

Multiple sources have said that while KordaMentha attempted to get a core group of staff to continue to work to keep the website and apps operating, they refused to do so unless both they and their colleagues were given unpaid wages.  Initially the staff demanded full repayment of all backpay for all employees, but on Friday morning an agreement was reached which would see some payments made to all former employees, in return for around six staff to return to work.  Within hours the platform was back online. The company previously had more than 20 Wellington-based staff.

KordaMentha partner Brendon Gibson confirmed the outline of the deal, saying: "We as the receivers, with the support of the funders, have agreed to make some payments to some people to allow an opportunity to see if this business can be sold with the site operating”.  Gibson said it was not unusual for receivers to be in a situation where employees were left out of pocket, although the difficulty with CricHQ was there was little that could be done to generate cash to continue to operate.

Gibson declined to comment on the exact nature of CricHQ's finances at the time of his company's appointment, but confirmed employees had not been paid for some time.  "You can work out that staff not being paid for six weeks prior to the receivership would indicate there was a severe shortage of cash”.  It is understood staff had not been paid since the start of September.  Based in Wellington, CricHQ claims to record one in every 10 balls bowled in competitive cricket around the world, and counts some of cricket's high profile former players among its shareholders.  

BCCI under pressure over player drug testing.

Sabi Hussain.

Times of India.

Monday, 30 October 2017.

PTG 2293-11591.

India’s national Ministry of Youth Affairs Sports (MYAS) has directed the country’s National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) to enforce the World Anti-Doping Agency's (WADA) Code in all its "fairness and entirety” such that the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) conducts dope testing of its players during domestic and international matches played in India.  The ministry has given NADA "full authority and powers" to send its ‘Dope Control Officers’ (DCO) to BCCI recognised tournaments and matches to collect in-competition blood and urine samples.  A report last week indicated a player in India tested positive for a banned substance last year (PTG 2290-11584, 28 October 2017).

WADA has asked the International Cricket Council to direct the BCCI to allow NADA to conduct the testing.  WADA had also written to the ministry asking it to ensure that BCCI is WADA-compliant and threatened to cancel NADA's accreditation if this was not ensured.  Rahul Bhatnagar ministry’s public service head said:  "I have instructed NADA's director general [Navin Agarwal] to send his DCOs to cricket tournaments in India to collect the samples of cricketers. If the BCCI resists or creates any hurdle in NADA's functioning, we won't hesitate from taking further action against the cricket board”.

Bhatnagar indicated NADA "will first start with in-competition testing during matches played in India. Then, we will gradually move forward to conduct out-of-competition testing.  The important thing is we will conduct testing within our parameters and rules and regulations as stipulated in the WADA Code.  We have to take this issue to its logical conclusion once and for all. For now, we are going ahead with the sample collection. We don't want to become non-compliant to the WADA Code”. 

Another official said that the ministry "would drag the BCCI to court" if it continued to defy NADA. “The BCCI is a public body [and while] it's true that it doesn't get a financial grant from the ministry,  ike any other national sports federation, it has to take permission to hold international tournaments and bilateral series. So, it can't continue saying we won't allow NADA to test cricketers, but engage a private international dope testing firm for sample collection".

It is understood NADA plans to start dope testing in the on-going Ranji Trophy first class series.  A BCCI source said the board would only look into the matter seriously after the Supreme Court proceedings in regard to the Lodha committee recommendations case reaches its conclusion (PTG 2290-11580, 28 October 2017).

Despite taking 8/73 bowler remains a pink ball sceptic.

James Buckley.

Fairfax Media.

Monday, 30 October 2017.

PTG 2293-11592.

Australian bowler Mitchell Starc remains a strong critic of the pink ball, despite it delivering him with a career-best 8-73 in New South Wales' Sheffield Shield match against South Australia in Adelaide on the weekend.  But for all his success with the non-traditional coloured ball, Starc is still adamant it behaves differently to its original red counterpart when it comes to swing and firmness.  Asked if he'd changed his opinion on the pink ball, Starc answered with a mono-syllabic "no" before expanding when queried on the reverse swing he produced against South Australia.  

After providing too much grass on the pitch for the inaugural day-night Test in 2015 in order to protect the ball, curator Damian Houghe took a few extra millimetres off the top for last season’s follow-up involving South Africa which pushed the game into the fourth day and most were satisfied with that result.  Reports from Starc’s match suggest Hough trimmed the drop-in pitch a little shorter still.  

Starc said: “[South Australia’s] Callum Ferguson made a few comments last night about it might have been a bit more of an abrasive surface than it was, he mentioned that the grass might have been a bit shorter than it has been in the past”.  "We still found that leather came away from the quarter seam, which probably caused it to reverse a bit as well.  It still goes soft and it does make it a bit more hard work for the bowlers once it does go soft, but we found a way to get 20 wickets and it was a great result for the [NSW]”.

Despite Starc's lack of fondness for the pink ball, he'll still be required to use it in the day-night Test against England at the Adelaide Oval in early December.

Non-striker reprimanded for dissent.

PTG Editor.

Monday, 30 October 2017.

PTG 2293-11593.

Western Australia’s Ashton Turner has been reprimanded for showing dissent at an umpire’s decision during his side’s Sheffield Shield match against Tasmania in Perth last Saturday.  Cricket Australia has indicated that the offence occurred when his team mate Hilton Cartwright was given out LBW by umpire Paul Wilson in the side’s second innings.  Turner can be seen on video turning sharply toward Wilson after the decision was made but what, if anything, was said, is not clear.  Match referee Steve Bernard considered the report from Wilson and his colleague Gerard Abood, and proposed a sanction of a reprimand.  Turner admitted the offence and accepted the sanction therefore no hearing was required. 

 


 

 

End of October 2017 news file.