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NOVEMBER 2017
THE MONTH’S HEADLINES
TOTAL OF 18 EDITIONS PUBLISHED
(Story numbers 11594-11672)


Click below to access each individual edition listed below
 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 2,294

Thursday, 2 November 2017

• CA signs up ‘official’ umpires’ sponsor [PTG 2294-11594].

• NZ umpire for Australian exchange visit, says report [PTG 2294-11595].

• Double review after third umpire muffs process [PTG 2294-11596].

• New policy behind rise in player concussion reports, says CA [PTG 2294-11598].

• An ode to the unloved Plunket Shield [PTG 2294-11598].

• Jamaican fined for show of dissent on debut [PTG 2294-11599].

• CNSW chief executive attracts wrath of key sponsor [PTG 2294-11600].

CA signs up ‘official' umpires’ sponsor.

PTG Editor.

Wednesday, 1 November 2017.

PTG 2294-11594.

Cricket Australia (CA) has signed up the Australian arm of British optical chain 'Specsavers’ as "the official sponsor of Australian Domestic Cricket Umpires” and the “official eyewear and eye care partner” for both them and players in its mens’ and womens' international sides.  The agreement, which is to run for three years from 2018-21, will see the company’s branding on the clothing of umpires who stand in CA’s domestic mens’ and womens’ one-day and first class matches, but not, if CA’s media release is read literally, the Big Bash League.

CA says the partnership will see "all Australian international players and domestic umpires" have access to regular eye tests and eyewear if and when required throughout the season”, an arrangement the national body’s Head of Commercial Sales and Partnerships, Michael da Costa-Alves, believes will "be a strong and fruitful one”.  There is no indication that in referring to ‘domestic umpires’ CA means anything more that members of its national and other panels, or for that matter scorers who also need good eye sight.

Marketing Director at Specsavers, Sarah McInnes says she "is proud" to be working with CA "to ensure the players and umpires have optimum vision on the field”.  “Healthy eyesight is so important, whether playing cricket or watching the game, so that’s why we encourage all players and fans to have an eye test at least once every two years”, said McInnes.  She went on to mention “glare” as being "a real issue for players”, but apparently not for umpires who are not mentioned in that regard.

CA says the partnership is its "eighth announcement of its type" this year, which in its assessment “highlights the continued strong commercial interest in Australia’s favourite sport”.  There is no indication though, as is the norm for commercial deals CA announces, just what the latest deal is worth in monetary terms for the national body, or whether any of the funds that flow in its direction will actually go to the match officials area.

NZ umpire for Australian exchange visit, says report.

PTG Editor.

Thursday, 2 November 2017.

PTG 2294-11595.

New Zealand umpire Shaun Haig is to stand in a single Cricket Australia (CA) Sheffield Shield match in early December as part of the on-going exchange agreement between CA and New Zealand Cricket, according to a so far unconfirmed report from Christchurch.  While CA has released match official appointments for the first four rounds of the current season’s Shield competition (PTG 2280-11538, 19 October 2017),  somewhat unusually it is yet to publicise who will be involved in next month’s three-match fifth round, the last before the two month break for the Big Bash League season.

If Haig, 35, who played first class cricket for Otago before turning to umpiring, does stand in Australia next month it will be his eighth first class fixture after a debut at that level that came in February last year.  Four months after that with two first class games under his belt, he was elevated to a third umpire spot on the International Cricket Council’s second-tier International Umpires Panel, a move that was part off a major shake-up of the New Zealand section of that group (PTG 1855-9300, 17 June 2016).  He subsequently made his international debut in a Twenty20 International last January.

Double review after third umpire muffs process.

PTG Editor.

Thursday, 2 November 2017.

PTG 2294-11596.

There was confusion during Wednesday’s opening India-New Zealand Twenty20 International in Delhi on Wednesday evening but eventually home side batsman Rohit Sharma was given out caught behind but only after a double review.  Sharma played at a ball delivered by Trent Boult and wicket-keeper Tom Latham appealed for a catch.  On-field umpire Nitin Menon, after conferring with his colleague Chettithody Shamshuddin, gave the soft signal of out but asked for  an 'umpire referral’, apparently in regards to the possibility of a bump ball.  

International Cricket Council third umpire review rules says that "in determining whether a delivery was a Bump Ball", the third umpire "shall first check the fairness of the delivery… ...and whether the batsman has hit the ball”.  In Sharma’s case third umpire Anil Chaudhary looked at the replays but not the ‘Ultra Edge’ feed, and as a result advised Menon that “bat hit the ground” and that the call should be 'not out’.  

Menon signalled that, however, New Zealand captain Kane Williamson, who was convinced about the edge then took a player's review and the entire process was repeated, this time with all the proper tools.  Therefore when ‘Ultra Edge' came up, there was a clear spike when the ball passed the bat.  The on-field decision had to be reversed and Sharma was given out.

New policy behind rise in player concussion reports, says CA.

James Buckley.

Fairfax Media.

Thursday, 2 November 2017.

PTG 2294-11597.

Cricket Australia (CA) has implemented a long-term plan to reduce the incidence of spinal injuries in fast bowlers.  A detailed annual CA injury report, released for the first time publicly on Wednesday, revealed 3.6 new lumbar spine bone stress injuries per 100 players in 2016-17 – slightly above the 10-year average.  The report showed that an average of 23.2 per cent of pace bowlers, that is one in four, were unavailable at any given time during the season, the highest rate in five years.  

Managing the workloads of top junior cricketers is at the core of CA's plan to reduce the amount of spinal injuries, which have long plagued Test fast bowlers.  James Pattinson, Peter Siddle and Pat Cummins are just some of the elite Australian quicks who have suffered debilitating back injuries in recent times.  Cummins is fit again but Siddle hasn't played a Test in 12 months and Pattinson is hopeful surgery will finally heal a bone in his back that has fractured four times in the same place since 2003.

CA sports science and sports medicine manager Alex Kountouris said the key to reducing spinal injuries was in early prevention during fast bowlers' formative years.  "At junior level we're looking at setting goals for them, how many balls they should bowl in a week and actually trying to get there”, Kountouris said. "It's just trying to make sure that they're getting the nice constant loading throughout the development years, which will make their bones stronger and have them more resilient later on in their career".

"We work with the coaches in doing that to get the balance between making sure they've got the skill and they're prepared to play, and they're going to play at their best and perform at their best, but at the same time not overloading them so they don't break down.  It's very, very common in younger players, their spines aren't fully developed. Not just in cricket, in other sports they develop these stress fractures in the spine”, he said.  “[CA’s] now spending a lot of time in the younger age groups, we're identifying kids as young as 12 now. We've got Under-12 championships, Under-15s, that's why we've done that to try to identify those bowlers nice and early”.

Last season's incidence of spinal injuries was only half of what was suffered in the 2015-16 season, although CA has identified a trend suggesting a player is more likely to suffer a back problem in a year where Australia plays a winter Ashes series.  "The higher than average lumbar and lower limb stress fractures is a likely indication of the demands of the modern game, where players transition between formats and have increasingly shorter pre-seasons and recovery periods," Kountouris said.

The CA injury report also revealed an increase in the number of recorded concussions last season, the figure rising to 8.3 per 100 players.  That number has doubled in the past three seasons, which Kountouris said was a direct result of CA's concussion and head trauma policies, the figure for 2015-16 being 4.4/100 and 2014-15 2.2/100.   "We expected that because we've had a concussion policy for the last three years and every year concussion rates go up, mainly because we've got this process in place where we're checking players after every head knock and we're picking up the really mild concussions now which maybe we've missed in the past”, Kountouris said.

"After every head impact, irrespective of whether the doctor thinks the player has a concussion or not, they're going through a process. Then we follow up the next day and we do the same thing – sometimes you can get delayed concussions. Every year our policies become stricter. We're just catching more and more people”, he said.  "We hope it'll probably level off at some point probably in the next year or two, we don't expect it to keep going up because we really don't think there's been an increase in head impacts or concussions we just think it's the way we're defining it”.

CA injury report 2016-17 key findings were: Concussion increase to 8.3 cases per 100 players; 8.3/100 new hamstring injuries; 3.6/100 new lumbar spine stress fracture injuries; 3.2/100 lower limb bone stress injuries; an average of 23.2 per cent of fast bowlers unavailable at any given time; and an overall average of 13.2 per cent of players unavailable at any given time.

An ode to the unloved Plunket Shield.

Dylan Cleaver.

New Zealand Herald.

Wednesday, 1 November 2017.

PTG 2294-11598.

New Zealand's Plunket Shield first class competition is a national treasure and any attempts to devalue it should be viewed as treason.  Yet, while its a wonderful curiosity for cricket lovers, its deeply unpopular with those who have to pay to run it.

It's tempting to call it a throwback, an irrelevance even, but that couldn't be further from the truth. There's elements of the tournament that are anachronisms - there are way too many first-class venues in New Zealand for starters and the boundaries of the six first-class sides draw their players from are beyond stupid in this day and age - but as a method of developing about 90 cricketers per year for higher honours, name me a better education?

It's certainly not infrequent, expensive and no-consequence national 'A’ team tours. It's certainly not limited overs cricket. First XI cricket is light years from first XV rugby in terms of preparing professional ready players.  The Plunket Shield is it.

The marketing and commercial departments might love Twenty20 cricket. That's cool. There's no doubt the short format has revolutionised the sport as a spectacle and as a remunerative exercise for players and administrators, even if New Zealand attempts at a T20 domestic showpiece has proven about as sexy as a six-legged dog.

But you don't have to worry about that at the Plunket Shield. The only thing it stands for is cricket. There's still a place for that.  This has not come to me in a revelation. In 2006 I asked, and was somehow allowed, to go to the first day of the first-class season. I wrote about it.  I made myself read that story again this week, because I wanted to see if anything had changed.

Apart from the fact that I'd be laughed out of the room these days by my editor if I asked for flights to anywhere to watch the opening of the Plunket Shield, precious little has: it's still starts in bitingly cold, long-sleeve weather, it's still as trendy as the theme tune to 'Country Calendar’ [a NZ documentary television series about rural life there], and there's still nobody at the ground watching it. And there's still people like me who follow it keenly from a safe distance. Long may that continue.

Back to the boundaries for a minute. Let's just say you're starting a national six-team lacrosse competition tomorrow. In what world would you consider Hawkes Bay, Nelson and Taranaki natural partners, as they are for Central Districts in cricket? Or Northland, Poverty Bay and King Country, as they are for Northern Districts?  The time has long arrived for New Zealand Cricket to bite the bullet and overhaul their antiquated major association, minor association system.

Jamaican fined for show of dissent on debut.

PTG Editor

Thursday, 2 November 2017.

PTG 2294-11599.

Jamaican opener Garth Garvey has been fined ten per cent of his match fee for showing dissent after being given out in his side’s Cricket West Indies ‘domestic' first class match against Guyana on the weekend. Garvey delayed his departure after being adjudged LBW off the only delivery he faced in his side’s first innings in a game that was his debut at first class level, a milestone that came on his birthday.

Garvey, 27, was reported by on-field umpires Nigel Duguid and Danesh Ramdhanie, along with reserve umpire Nandkumar Shivsankar for the Level One offence at Guyana's National Stadium.  Match referee Colin Stuart imposed the fine, Garvey admitted to the offence and accepted the sanction proposed, so there was no need for a formal hearing.

CNSW chief executive attracts wrath of key sponsor.

Andrew Wu 

Fairfax Media.

Thursday, 2 November 2017.

PTG 2294-11600.

Cricket NSW (CNSW) has implemented a safe driver policy for its players and staff after an embarrassing error involving chief executive Andrew Jones who was booked for texting while driving earlier this year.  CNSW has a long-standing sponsorship with major partner Transport for NSW, a state government statutory agency who runs an anti-drink driving road safety program whose message, ‘Plan B’, is featured on the chest of the state team’s playing shirts.

Jones was given an on-the-spot fine of $A315 (£UK180) by police and docked four demerit points for texting behind the wheel while stationary in traffic. He has apologised to Transport for NSW for what that organisation described as a "serious breach" of its contract with CNSW.  Earlier this year Victoria’s Transport Accident Commission ended an eleven-year partnership on road safety issues with a football club after their captain was caught speeding, the commission ending similar contracts with two other clubs in the past decade after their players were caught drink-driving.

The texting revelation continues a controversial season for Jones who was sanctioned by Cricket Australia (CA) for comments he made on social media about match officials after a farcical finish to a CA one-day match involving NSW (PTG 2280-11534, 19 October 2017).  In 2012 former NSW bowler Nic Bills blew 0.062, above the legal 0.05 limit, at a time when the state team was known as the 'Speedblitz Blues’, a title that was also road safety linked.  It is understood that as part of his sanction he was ordered to conduct talks at all Sydney grade clubs about the perils of drink-driving.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 2,295

Friday, 3 November 2017

 

• Three Aussie umpires for first class debuts in same week [PTG 2295-11601].

• Wide gap in standard of women's cricket across India [PTG 2295-11602].

Three Aussie umpires for first class debuts in same week.

PTG Editor.

Friday, 3 November 2017

PTG 2295-11601.

Three members of Cricket Australia’s (CA) second-tier Development Panel, Nathan Johnstone, Donovan Koch and David Shepard, are to all make their umpiring debuts at first class level within a week of each other later this month.  Shepard has been named to stand in a first class, day-night first class game between a CA XI and the England tourists at the Adelaide Oval which starts next Wednesday, Koch in a Sheffield Shield match at the Melbourne Cricket Ground five days after that (PTG 2280-11538, 19 October 2017), then Johnstone will stand in Townsville in a second four-day CA XI-England tour game, the latter side’s last before the opening Ashes Test.

CA has also appointed its four senior panel umpires, Gerard Abood, Simon Fry, Sam Nogajski and Paul Wilson to the opening three matches of England’s tour.  The first this weekend in Perth, is a two-day match involving a Western Australian XI and will see Abood and Nogajksi on-field with Steve Bernard the referee and Lance Catchpole and Sandy Wheeler the scorers.    The second, the day-nighter, will be umpired by Fry and Shepard and see Simon Taufel, CA's Match Referee and Umpire Selection Manager, make his first class refereeing debut, Mick Harper and Neil Ricketts being the scorers.  In game three in Townsville Johnstone will stand with Wilson, Bob Parry being the referee and Stephen Boyle and Gail Cartwright the scorers. 

Its been a long haul for Perth-based Johnstone, 37, who over the last ten years has been selected to stand in a total of six key national umpire pathway events, stood in over 20 state second XI fixtures, male Under-19 Tests, both mens' U-19 and Womens' One Day Internationals, plus five List A games in the period from 2010-12.  His umpiring career received a resurgence earlier this year with the award of a year-long Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) national officiating scholarship (PTG 2042-10347, 8 February 2017), then elevation to CA’s DP in June (PTG 2159-10952, 9 June 2017).

Shepard, 46, played a single first class game and six List A fixtures for Victoria in the late 1990s before moving to umpiring.  Over the last four years he has featured in one CA U-17, and three U-19, tournaments and stood in three state second XI matches in Perth, Sydney and Melbourne.  As a former first class player he was appointed to CA’s Project Panel in 2014 and its Emerging Umpires Panel, the predecessor to the now DP, in 2015, the same year he also was awarded an AIS scholarship (PTG 1513-7295, 3 February 2015).

South African born Koch, 41, who made his List A debut last 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, after that playing several matches in County Second XI competitions in England.  From 2009-12 he stood in the Yorkshire Premier League and then a range of Minor County and County Second XI three-day, one-day and Twenty20 fixtures.  A year after moving to Queensland in 2013 he was appointed to a CA Under-17 mens’ championship series, state second XI games, and in December 2015 a CA Under-19 championship at which he was selected for the final.  Soon after that he was awarded an AIS scholarship.

The appointments of the three DP members will mean that four of the six currently on that panel will have stood at first class level, the fourth being Darren Close who did so back in the 1980s in what was a different era of home state first class appointments.

Wide gap in standard of women's cricket across India.

Shashank Kishore.

Cricinfo.

Thursday, 2 November 2017.

PTG 2295-11602.

A total of 136 wides and 16 no balls were called in a match in the Board of Control for Cricket in India’s (BCCI) Under-19 50-over format Women's North East Championship series in Dhanbad on Wednesday, a situation that underlines the wide gap that currently exists across the womens’ game on the sub-continent.  The game, between states sides from Nagaland and Manipur, saw the latter’s bowlers deliver 15 no balls and 94 wides, a total of 109 of Nagaland's 38 over innings of 215, while Nagaland did a shade better with one no ball and 42 wides in an innings of 27.2 overs that totalled 98.

An official who was present at the match indicated both teams struggled to bowl on one bounce to the batsmen, saying: "Forget about being accurate, balls were barely reaching the other end as well, which raises questions about the preparedness.  The gap in standards between the top sides and the rest is huge in women's cricket. Even at training, you could see coaches working their level best at their bowling and fielding drills. Bowlers were missing their run-ups, pulling out of their delivery strides, so it is a long road for these sides. You can't question them for effort, they were trying hard”.

This is the first time six north-eastern states - Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland and Sikkim - have been cleared to participate in the BCCI's U-19 women's tournament, through the addition of a new tournament specifically for the north-east sides and Bihar. This follows a clearance from the Indian Supreme Court-appointed BCCI Committee of Administrators as part of a move to integrate the sides into the BCCI set-up.  Mizoram, however, will not field a team for the tournament due to paperwork issues regarding their affiliation.

The addition of the North East zone takes the total number of zonal women’s sides to six - North, South, East, West and Central being the others. The top two sides from each zone qualify for the BCCI Womens’ Super League, with the top two sides from each pool of four qualifying for the semi-finals.  Mamta Maben, the former India women captain, who coaches at the age-group level, felt the structure had to be strengthened before talks of a robust T20 league, along the lines of Cricket Australia's Women's Big Bash League and the England and Wales Cricket Board’s Super League, came into the picture.

"Some teams down south are very competitive, but if you look at the overall picture, there's still some way to go”, she said. "North East sides have to be given more time. Changes will not happen overnight. They're just coming into the system now, so to get to the standards of the top teams will need lot of investment and time. Which is why, I don't think we can aspire for an eight-team T20 league any time soon. Maybe three or four is the most, with foreign players coming in. We'll be diluting the system if we try and look to make up the numbers”.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 2,296

Sunday, 5 November 2017

 

• First class game halted as man drives on to pitch [PTG 2296-11603].

• Zimbabwe to scale back on Test cricket at home [PTG 2296-11604].

• Clarke to step aside as ECB president by 2018 [PTG 2296-11605].

• Port Elizabeth Test ground gets new lights in major makeover [PTG 2296-11606].

First class game halted as man drives on to pitch.

Varun Shetty

Cricinfo.

Saturday, 4 November 2017.

PTG 2296-11603.

A major security breach at the Air Force Sports Complex outside New Delhi allowed a man, who identified himself as Girish Sharma, drive his car onto the field of play late on the third day of the Ranji Trophy fixture between Delhi and Uttar Pradesh on Friday.  The man claimed he didn't see any security and was merely lost, despite what looked like deliberate swerves to drive over the pitch twice, completely ignoring attempts from players and umpires Umesh Dubey and Rohan Pandit to stop him. 

The incident took place at 4.40 p.m., 20 minutes from close of play after the umpires took the allowed half hour extension to make up for the over-rate. After examining the pitch for potential damage match referee Vengalil Kutty deemed it "playable" . The final day of the game began at 9.15 a.m. as scheduled on Saturday.  With no other venue available, the fixture, which is Delhi's home game, was shifted to the Palam ground because the Feroz Shah Kotla was used for the first India-New Zealand Twenty20 International on Wednesday.

Justice Vikramjit Sen, the administrator in charge of Delhi District Cricket Association, said that the issue was being looked into by the Services Control Board, which is in charge of the Palam ground. He said: "Fortunately there was no injury to any of the players.  Asked if the incident will put a cloud over future matches at the venue he indicated and that "all points" would be considered by a planned investigation into the matter.  The Board of Control for Cricket in India’s Anti-Corruption Unit is understood to not be in charge of security during domestic tournaments, but it is in touch with local authorities regarding the investigation.

Zimbabwe to scale back on Test cricket at home.

Firdose Moonda and Osman Samiuddin.

Cricinfo.

Saturday, 4 November 2017.

PTG 2296-11604.

Hosting fewer Tests and scaling down operations may be the way forward for Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) as it navigates a changing cricket structure and tricky financial waters. Zimbabwe will not be part of the new Test league that is set to start in July 2019, and are happy with the development. They do not intend to stop playing Tests altogether, preferring in future to play them away from home. Instead they will shift focus to limited-overs cricket.

In one way it is a formalisation of the status quo, in which Zimbabwe are already playing a greatly reduced number of Tests. "What we quickly realised was that hosting Tests is something that costs us a lot of money, and that is a commodity we do not have at the moment - in fact we owe people a lot of money”, said ZC's recently appointed managing director Faisal Hasnain (PTG 2291-11583, 28 October 2017).

"As things stand, it costs us money because we get almost negligible amounts from our current TV rights and sponsorships, and these continue till 2019. So if we were in a formal Test league, where we were forced to play Tests at home, we just would not be able to sustain it financially, unless we get substantial help from the International Cricket Council (ICC) or from some other source - and the ICC Test fund no longer exists and other funding sources are few and far between”.

"Obviously, we will continue to play Test cricket, but in our current circumstances we will try and play them away from home, primarily to save costs. We will concentrate on playing more One Day Internationals (ODI) and Twenty20 Internationals (T20I), home and away, under the ODI league and the T20I open format, which will hopefully enable us to cut expenditure and potentially generate greater revenues”.

Zimbabwe have just finished hosting a two-Test series with the West Indies, which has cost them somewhere in the region of $US1 million ($A1.3 m, £UK764,585). For an organisation in as much of a financial battle as ZC, that is an unnecessary strain. There is a possibility that, in discussion with Afghanistan and Ireland, Zimbabwe will formally ask the ICC for certain relaxations from the full requirements of the strict playing conditions - conducting matches without the decision review system for example. They may also ask for leniency in TV broadcast requirements for international cricket. This could ultimately make it more affordable to host Tests, and ZC has already taken up the matter, informally, with the ICC.

Crucial to their quest to better financial health is income from the ICC, in the form of distribution and World Cup participation fees, which makes qualification for the 2019 event even more important. With that in mind, Zimbabwe has embarked on an ambitious project to convince certain players who had left the country to return, but the flipside of that has been the toll it has taken on their finances.

In addition to employee and player salaries being part-paid at the end of October, and because of the financial challenges their board faces, Zimbabwe's players have yet to receive their match fees for the Sri Lanka tour that took place in July. A proposed increase in player allowance for this season's domestic matches has also not come to pass.  ZC is attempting to stabilise its operations and finances under Hasnain and chief financial officer Feroza Shariff, though given the country's ongoing economic crisis and the limited opportunities to raise money that will not be easy.

Clarke to step aside as ECB president by 2018.

Elizabeth Ammon.

The Times.

Saturday, 4 November 2017.

PTG 2296-11605.

Giles Clarke is to step down as president of the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) after 13 years on the board.  Clarke, 64, became chairman of the governing body in 2007 having been a non-executive director with the ECB since 2004. In 2015, he moved to the role of ECB president — a newly created position that allowed Colin Graves to take over the chairmanship but which kept Clarke on the board, with a specific remit to be the representative with the International Cricket Council (ICC).

However, to comply with Sport England’s code of governance, the ECB will be making significant changes to the structure of their board. As well as increasing the number of independent directors, the governance guidance sets out the length of terms directors may serve on the board of a governing body.

Sport England, a non-departmental public body under the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, has a requirement that: “A director may serve on the board for a maximum of 12 years if appointed as chair of the organisation or to a senior position on an international federation and in exceptional circumstances a chair or director may hold office for a further year”.

Having been on the board since 2004, Clarke has already served almost 13 years and it is understood the ECB has assured Sport England that “any directors who have served beyond the maximum term limits of the Code will step down by March 2018”.

In 2005, during his time as chairman of marketing, Clarke was instrumental in the controversial transfer of broadcast rights from free-to-air TV to Sky. He was also responsible for the policy of counties having to make significant financial bids to host international cricket — a move which some believe is partially to blame for the significant debt that some counties are in.

Clarke was chairman at the time of the ill-fated Allen Stanford T20 series and was key in the ICC’s decision to change the way its revenue was distributed to the ‘big three’ — India, England and Australia, a decision that has been since reversed. Last year, Clarke was reported to be interested in becoming ICC chairman but was dealt a blow when it emerged that Australia and South Africa would not vote for him.  The ECB declined to comment about Giles’s departure.

Port Elizabeth Test ground gets new lights in major makeover.

Telford Vice.

Times Live.

Saturday, 4 November 2017.

PTG 2296-11606.

St George’s Park in Port Elizabeth, the home of cricket in South Africa, has been been spruced up to the tune of almost 67 million Rand ($A6.2 m, £UK3.6 m) and is ready to roll into a future more than four times as dazzling as its illustrious past.  New floodlights have been installed at a cost of 27 m Rand ($A2.5 m, £UK1.5 m) and 39.7 m ($A3.6 m, £UK2.1 m) has been spent on other improvements‚ including a new scoreboard and drainage system.   

The upgrades should add to the occasion that will unfold at St George’s Park on December 26 — when South Africa host Zimbabwe in not only the first day/night‚ pink-ball test in this country but the first four-day Test.  The ground desperately needed new lights. Their old set peaked at a mere 800 lux‚ which meant muggers could have lurked unseen in the further reaches of the outfield during day-night games.  Testing shows that the new lights can provide an average of 3,700 lux in the centre of the ground and around 3,000 lux elsewhere, so the lights will be ‘wound down’ a bit for actual play.  In comparison, in the day time on a generally overcast day the lux reading is usually around 1,000.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 2,297

Monday, 6 November 2017

 

• Llong to reach 200th first class match mark in Kolkata Test [PTG 2297-11607].

• Fines, ‘written censure’, for Plunket misdemeanours [PTG 2297-11608].

• Captain, manager, censured over team sheet breach [PTG 2297-11609].

• Driver wanted to watch match "up close", says father [PTG 2297-11610].

• First-class ticket to a one dimensional game [PTG 2297-11611].

Llong to reach 200th first class match mark in Kolkata Test.

PTG Editor.

Saturday, 4 November 2017.

PTG 2297-11607.

English umpire Nigel Llong will be standing in his 200th first class game when he takes the field in the opening match of the three-Test series between India and Sri Lanka in Kolkata on Thursday week.  Llong, 48, a former first class player who debuted as an umpire at that level in April 2000 and stood in his first Test in January 2008, will work during the series with Australian David Boon, countryman Richard Kettleborough and Joel Wilson of the West Indies, plus Indian members of the International Cricket Council’s second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP).

Boon will oversee the series as match referee, while the three neutral umpires will each have two games on-field and one as the television umpire.  The two Englishmen will be on-field in Kolkata with Wilson the TV umpire, the West Indian standing with Kettleborough in Nagpur in the second Test, and Llong in the third in Delhi.  By series end Boon will have worked as the referee in 47 Tests, Llong 49 on-field and 23 as the television umpire (49/23), Kettleborough 47/18 and Wilson 7/6, the latter’s seven coming over the last two-and-a-half years.  Which Indian IUP members will work as fourth umpires during the series has not yet been announced.

Fines, ‘written censure’, for Plunket misdemeanours.

PTG Editor.

Sunday, 5 November 2017.

PTG 2297-11608.

Three players, two from Otago and one from Auckland, were cited for a range of offences that occurred during the latest round of New Zealand Cricket’s (NZC) Plunket Shield last week.   Otago pace bowler Neil Wagner was fined $NZ560 ($A505, £UK295), around a third of this match fee, for a Level Two Code of Conduct breach in the game against Wellington, his team mate Hamish Rutherford received “a written sanction” for a Level One offence, while Auckland fast bowler Lockie Ferguson was fined $NZ100 ($A90, £UK52.80) also for a Level One breach when playing against Central Districts.

Wagner was found to have engaged in "conduct that is either contrary to the spirit of the game, or brings the game into disrepute”, Rutherford for "dislodging the bails at the bowler’s end with his bat, after being dismissed in Otago’s first innings”, and Ferguson for "shouting an obscene word which was clearly audible outside the playing area".

NZC Code of Conduct commissioner Andrew Gilchrist held a phone hearing into the Wagner incident the day after it occurred, noting that the Otago bowler "accepted the allegations, showed regret and had apologised to umpires [Ashley Mehrotra and Derek Walker and [Wellington batsman Olly] Newton” to whom he was bowling.  Gilchrist said, “having viewed the video, and heard the player’s frank acknowledgements, I believe this offending was at the lowest end of a Level Two offence”.  The exact nature of the offence was not detailed.

Ferguson was reported by umpires Chris Brown and Wayne Knights for his outburst which NZC says "was not directed at any player” and that it "occurred after the batsman edged a ball between the wicket-keeper and slip.  Mehrotra and Walker reported Rutherford for his offence.

Captain, manager, censured over team sheet breach.

Daily Star.

Monday, 6 November 2017.

PTG 2297-11609.

Sylhet Sixers captain Nasir Hossain and manager Hasibul Hossain have been found to have breached the Bangladesh Cricket Board’s Code of Conduct because of their “failure to submit their team sheet properly", in their opening Bangladesh Premier League Twenty20 match of this year’s series against Dhaka Dynamites at Sylhet International Cricket stadium on Saturday.

The toss had to be delayed by six minutes because of the issue and the two men were subsequently cited for a Level One offence by on-field umpires Masudur Rahman Mukul and Riazuddin, the latter a Pakistani umpire, third umpire Tanvir Ahmed and fourth umpire Aktaruzzaman.  Both Nasir and Hasibul accepted the charges and thus match referee Debabrata Paul did not need to convene a formal hearing.  As a result they both were given one demerit point to their disciplinary record. Anyone who accumulates four demerit points during the tournament is automatically suspended for one game.

Driver wanted to watch match "up close", says father.

Shubhomoy Sikdar.

Hindustan Times.

Sunday, 5 November 2017.

PTG 2297-11610.

AK Sharma, the father of Girish Kumar, who drove his car onto the ground during a Ranji Trophy match in Delhi last Friday, claimed his son was a “cricket enthusiast” who simply wanted to watch the game “up close” (PTG 2296-11603, 5 November 2017).  Sharma said his son was returning home after dropping his sister to the airport and happened to see a cricket match, and as the ground was accessible, he drove inside with no wrong intent. Once there, it dawned on him that he had just gate crashed a premier domestic level tournament match and that several international players he follows were present at the venue. 

Kumar was questioned by the police for eight hours before they booked him for trespass, a bailable offence, but they said there was no evidence of any major security breach at a Ranji game.  His father said it was the job of personnel from the Indian Air Force, on whose ground the match was being played, to secure the entry gate and his son only wanted to meet the players who he recognised but was whisked away by security personnel before he could do so.

First-class ticket to a one dimensional game.

Gideon Haigh.

The Australian.

Saturday, 4 November 2017.

PTG 2297-11611.

The expression “first class cricket” is increasingly a misnomer. If anything it has become the lowest of the game’s priorities — something to be pushed into the margins of calendars, budgets, and the thoughts of administrators and broadcasters alike.

The second round of Cricket Australia's (CA) Sheffield Shield first class competition commenced on Saturday, before its yawning stands and spruiking its third-tier sponsors, the first round having proceeded without three of its most prolific and dedicated exponents of the past decade in NSW’s Ed Cowan, Victoria’s Cameron White and Western Australia’s Michael Klinger, to whom younger batters were preferred.  Ironically, it was also a week in which one of Victoria’s Big Bash League franchises, the Melbourne Renegades, signed Brad Hogg, who is in his 47th year.

While Klinger went to fill his time in the Bangladesh Premier League having represented his country only seven months ago, there was also the annual vaunting of his Dorian Gray-esque state teammate Shaun Marsh, only a year younger than Cowan, but still somehow the country’s most promising 34-year-old.

The backdrop to this might be thought to be the year’s feuding between CA and the Australian Cricketers’ Association, in which the remuneration of male domestic cricketers and the cost of the first-class game was the area of profoundest contention.  In a section of its original submission, CA argued: “While state men’s cricket does not have the objective of generating financial returns, ongoing growth in player payments relative to the revenue generated by state men’s cricket is an issue of sustainability”.

It was a collector’s piece of cognitive dissonance: how could state men’s cricket be faulted for failing to meet an objective it did not have? But an inference was open — that CA would cheerfully entertain a method of developing cricketers that was cheaper than a full-fledged interstate four-day competition.  The argument for youth now is likewise not moral but industrial. It presents as a more rational allocation of resources to invest in a player in their early 20s rather than their mid-30s — given their lower cost, potentially greater future upside, and also, perhaps, in the context of the year’s disputation, fewer opinions.

If you think ‘industrial’ too harsh a word, consider the rationalisation of White’s omission from the Victorian team by his state’s cricket general manager Shaun Graf. Over the past three years, Graf told a radio interviewer, “all of our KPIs (key performance indicators) have been about having Australian representatives”, and that being able to “win some Shields along the way” had been a “by-product” — sort of like ferrous slag, or pulp sludge, or flue gas.

This is to denigrate a proud competition which players hurl themselves headlong at winning every season but also revealing of how bureaucracy develops a stake in the success of the systems it creates.  The preparation of Australian cricketers is a sizeable employer. It involves a large centre in Brisbane. It collects copious data, has lots of meetings and conference calls, has outgrown such quaint notions as picking the best XIs and playing to win.

It specialises in cunning plans such as last year’s moving a NSW home Shield game against WA over 2,000 km across the Tasman Sea to Lincoln outside Christchurch (which is like relocating a game at Lord’s almost to Moscow), for experience in New Zealand conditions “because a large proportion of the current Test squad comes from those two states”, whereupon it turned out only three such players were available.

CA has pathways populated with managers, coaches, high-performance staff, talent scouts and game development officers needing to justify themselves by the minting of new players.  Who can take credit for Cameron White? He is his own man. But a youth who having gone through state Under-15s and Uunder-17s is chosen for the National Performance Squad and the Cricket Australia XI then lands a Big Bash League rookie deal before progressing to a state berth gilds all those associated with him (or her, for that matter).

Yet it’s this very structure that obviates the need for further micromanagement, for turning the Sheffield Shield into a series of 'Australian Cricket’s Got Talent’ TV show. Young Australian cricketers enjoy more opportunities than any previous generation — the Shield has been the last bastion of actual merit, of proof by performance.

The counter-argument is that Cowan, White, Klinger and presumably a few other older heads stand little chance of gaining Australian selection again, and therefore represent good money after bad. Yet this makes only superficial and quantitative sense, for to advance an inferior cricketer because they are younger is to cost them as much as they gain.  They obtain, for instance, a mistaken sense of their progress. Last season Daniel Hughes only just held on to his Shield place; now, we’re told, he’s “ready” for the Australian call.

Dressing rooms lose experience; rivals are short changed for White, Cowan and Klinger as Australian caps are prestigious poles for young bowlers.  The Shield is not so much about “producing” cricketers as it is about nurturing a competitive culture that puts their skills to the toughest possible test.  That too-busy current internationals will seldom be available for selection actually magnifies the importance of those players with prior international experience. They provide the benchmarks.

One other thing. It is a reductive view of cricket that holds cricketers whose future international chances may be limited to be wasting time, consuming space. On this logic a majority of states should cease to select wicketkeepers, on grounds that Australia will only need two or three every decade.  Very obviously, international cricket is no longer the only game in town — there is a whole gaudy world of domestic T20 out there.

In the history of Australian cricket, furthermore, only a small proportion of first-class players have gone on to higher honours. Does this invalidate the achievements and the journeys of those who did not? Do they therefore become failures, on par with defective widgets? They do, bollocks.

Heaven forfend that in this day and age a cricketer should be playing for enjoyment. Yet it is perfectly possible to pursue cricket seriously and also for joy and fun — in fact, it seems almost an ideal state of affairs. The commencement of the Sheffield Shield this season, then, has been an ominous foreshadowing — a further step towards turning the first-class into the one-dimensional.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 2,298

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

 

• Half a million plus TV viewers watch third women's Ashes ODI [PTG 2298-11612].

• Post-match umpire abuse leads to fine [PTG 2298-11613].

 BCCI ‘car on ground’ investigation committee disbanded after an hour [PTG 2298-11614].

• Lahore smog could stop Windies’ play [PTG 2298-11615].

Half a million plus TV viewers watch third women's Ashes ODI.

Daniel Brettig.

Cricinfo.

Monday, 6 November 2017.

PTG 2298-11612.

More than half a million viewers tuned in to watch the third women's Ashes One Day International (ODI) on television two Sundays ago, in the strongest sign yet of what Cricket Australia's (CA) chief executive James Sutherland has called the game's "single most significant growth opportunity”.  The audience peaked at  512,568 on the Nine network's main channel during the afternoon session, with an average of 312,787, after programers chose to move the match from the digital channel ‘9Gem', where the first match of the series attracted a peak afternoon audience of 281,394 (PTG 2290-11575, 27 October 2017).

In a telling reminder of the importance of free-to-air deals to expand cricket's audience, the peak figure was greater than the 467,000 viewers recorded nationally across Britain for Sky's coverage of the final day of the first men's Ashes Test in Cardiff in 2015.  At the same time, it provided further evidence for CA to press ahead with plans to make October a month for standalone women's fixtures, such as the World Twenty20 Championship series in 2020 and also the Women's Big Bash League (WBBL), which is under consideration for movement to a separate time slot from the men's tournament that takes place in December and January (PTG 2287-11559, 25 October 2017).

"Cricket is an incredibly popular sport - but the sports and entertainment market is extremely competitive and changing all the time. To ensure cricket's sustainable future as a mainstream sport, we can't afford to take anything for granted”, said Sutherland. "We strongly believe that growing cricket as a sport of choice for women and girls is our game's single most significant growth opportunity. It is an extremely important initiative within our recently adopted five-year strategic plan".

"In recent seasons we have seen the WBBL played in front of large crowds and drawing strong TV audiences on Network Ten. The competition is the best women's league in the world. For us domestically, it not only provides clarity on the pathway to our national team, but exposes the tremendous depth of female talent in this country. We will continue to explore our scheduling to enable our women's matches to attract the highest possible levels of fan support".

"Earlier this year, the International Cricket Council approved our request to separate the Women's World T20 event from the men's - and so the women's event to be played in February-March 2020 will precede the men's event which will be in October-November. Just as we have with the World T20, we are looking to find discreet windows in the calendar where we can promote the women's game so as to attract ever higher audiences at match and on TV”.

"Following on from the hugely successful World Cup in England (PTG 2209-11182, 22 July 2017), we are seeing women's cricket continue to grow in popularity and we are delighted to see cricket fans' appreciation of the women's game reflected in ever increasing crowds and TV audiences.  The Nine Network's broadcast of the ODI series has been outstanding, and to see the final ODI match televised on the main channel attracting a very significant audience was further indication of the growing appetite for the women's game".

Post-match umpire abuse leads to fine.

PTG Editor.

Monday, 6 November 2017.

PTG 2298-11613.

Sylhet Sixers batsman Sabbir Rahman has been fined half his match fee, around 150,000 Taka ($A2,360, £UK1,380), and given three demerit points, for comments he made to umpire Mahfuzur Rahman at the end of the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) match against the Comilla Victorians on Sunday.  

Sabbir, who had been given out LBW by the umpire during the game, was observed verbally abusing this as the players and match officials shook hands.  Match referee Debroboto Paul said on Monday Sabbir was found to have "behaved aggressively” towards the umpire and was charged with a Level Two offence for which he lost half his match fee.  Should he receive one more demerit point during the on-going BPL he will automatically be suspended for one match.

BCCI ‘car on ground’ investigation committee disbanded after an hour.

Indranil Basu.

Times of India.

Tuesday, 7 November 2017.

PTG 2298-11614.

Officials from the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) plans to form a security committee to investigate the incident in which a car was driven on to the Palam ground in Delhi when a first class match was underway last Friday (PTG 2296-11603, 5 November 2017), were quickly scotched by the BCCI’s court-appointed Committee of Administrators (CoA) who put an end to what a spokesman described as an "unnecessary’ exercise”.

On Monday, acting BCCI president CK Khanna formed a security committee - headed by acting treasurer Anirudh Chaudhary, Jay Shah (Gujarat) and Avishek Dalmiya (Cricket Association of Bengal) - to investigate the matter further. However, the committee lasted for just an hour or so before it was disbanded by the CoA, whose head Vinod Rai wrote in a letter to board members: “The acting president didn't get himself briefed by BCCI administration before deciding to constitute the said committee. There was no consultation with CoA either on the issue”. 

Rai went on: "It needs to be appreciated that the Palam ground is an Air Force ground. The security of armed forced premises are managed by the Armed forces themselves and they will not allow BCCI or any other civilian agencies to undertake investigation of either its premises or provided documents. Hence, the exercise of collecting documents and reports to prepare the details will be futile. It will, thus, unnecessary inconvenience the members of the committee with no tangible benefit emerging from the exercise”.  As such Rai concluded: "The committee is disbanded”.

Lahore smog could stop Windies’ play.

The Nation.

Monday, 6 November 2017.

PTG 2298-11615.

The proposed West Indies tour to Pakistan for three Twenty20 Internationals at the end of November may be scrapped due to the smog that has engulfed Lahore, the venue for hosting the series, according to Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Najam Sethi.  He said: “We are still in agreement with the Cricket West Indies regarding their tour to Pakistan, but the final decision in this regard will be announced in a few days. However, we have been facing some problems regarding smog , as the International Cricket Council referee wouldn’t allow us to host matches in this smoggy weather.  We are also in close contact with Met Office as well and if we get any positive news from them, we will okay the series, otherwise, there is a chance it may be scrapped”.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 2,299

Thursday, 9 November 2017

 

• NZC declare significant loss but lock in Indian TV deal [PTG 2299-11616].

Modified junior formats get mixed responses from coaches [PTG 2299-11617].

Queenslander fined, reprimanded, for equipment abuse [PTG 2299-11618].

Slow over-rate fine for BPL’s Sylhet Sixes [PTG 2299-11619].

Badgers present a challenge for Yorkshire club [PTG 2299-11620].

NZC declare significant loss but lock in Indian TV deal.

Mark Geenty.

Fairfax Media.

Thursday, 9 Noveber 2017.

PTG 2299-11616

New Zealand Cricket (NZC) has revealed a $NZ9.3 million ($A8.4 m, £UK4.9 m) financial loss for the past year as it trumpets its biggest broadcast rights deal with Star Sports India, although just what it its worth has not been made public.  Chief executive David White confirmed the hefty deficit in the annual report which will be presented at NZC’s annual general meeting next Wednesday. It was far worse than last year's $NZ2.16 m ($A1.96 m, £UK1.14 m) loss and significantly more than the budgeted deficit of $NZ5.7 m ($A5.2 m, £UK3 m).

White said NZC faced a "challenging couple of years" but explained the loss was largely due to the International Cricket Council's (ICC) new financial model. In the eight years till 2023, NZC's slice of ICC funding would increase from $US90-128 m ($A117-166.6 m, £U68.6-97.5 m) but it was a case of less now, more later.  "That's been a big jump for us but what was agreed was that we get less up front, than was forecast in the old model, and a lot more to the back end of that agreement”, White said. "That shortfall is primarily the increase but we make up for it significantly in future years”.

 

Still, a loss of nearly $NZ10 m ($A9.1 m, £UK5.3 m) for NZC, whose revenue of $NZ48.7 m ($44.1 m, £UK25.8 m) was nearly $NZ4 m ($A3.6 m, £UK2.1 m) down on last year, is always going to raise eyebrows. In the annual report, grants to major associations and domestic players payments were up $NZ650,000 ($A588,645, £UK344,490) to $NZ16.2 m ($A14.7 m, £UK8.6 m), match and tour expenses up $NZ500,000 ($A452,805, £UK264,890) to just over $NZ5 m ($A4.5 m, £UK2.65 m) and the player payment pool increased $NZ600,000 ($A543,290, £UK318,010) to $NZ8.17 m ($A7.4 m, £UK4.3 m).

White said gate takings, which typically make up ten per cent of NZC's revenue, were down last summer when the marquee tour by South Africa was hit by the weather.  "It was a big year in terms of volume of cricket so that was quite expensive. The gates were largely influenced by the weather in a pretty wet summer. Apart from that it was pretty much aligned with budget”.

This summer, with Australia and England playing Twenty20 internationals in New Zealand and England playing the country's inaugural day-night test at Eden Park, White said early sales were strong and he was confident the coffers would get a boost.  NZC will need it, and White admitted belts were being tightened. "Across the business we've worked pretty hard to make sure we're prudent with our costs”.

He confirmed $NZ50,000 ($A45,275, £UK26,495) had been spent by the organisation on a rebrand from Black Caps to NZC, in order to be more inclusive of women's, domestic and community cricket.  "It'll be a challenging year for us financially. Then we go into the Master Agreement negotiations [with the Players' Association] and we've got this broadcast revenue and we've got the ICC funding. We're in a strong position but the next couple of years will be challenging”.

White wouldn't say what the Star Sports deal was worth but he labelled it "significant", and bigger than any broadcasting deal they'd done before. "We're delighted with it”.  Star Sports can broadcast NZ mens’ and womens' home internationals for the next three years, with India's two tours of New Zealand in that period a key driver of the lucrative deal.   The company's comes two months after it secured media rights to the Indian Premier League for the next five years for 163.48 billion Rupees ($A3.21 bn, £UK1.97bn) (PTG 2239-11330, 5 September 2017).

White said India would tour New Zealand in 2018-19 and play three Twenty20 Internationals (T20I) and five One Day Internationals (ODI), the latter extended series a lead-in to the World Cup in the UK.  The following season India would play two Tests - as part of the new Test championship - three ODIs and five T20Is in New Zealand to lead into the World T20 in Australia in 2020.

Modified junior formats get mixed responses from coaches.

Daniela Abbracciavento.

Adelaide Community News.

Wednesday, 8 November 2017.

PTG 2299-11617.

Cricket coaches in Adelaide are divided on radical changes to the playing formats for junior games which have been introduced around Australia for the 2017-18 season.  All South Australian Cricket Association (SACA) metropolitan junior associations have adopted Cricket Australia’s (CA) new modified junior format which is aimed at boosting enjoyment levels and participation rates this summer.  CA has previously reported that two-thirds of Australian associations have embraced the new formats (PTG 2283-11547, 21 October 2017).

The changes to be rolled out over the next three years, starting with the Under-10s this year, include: reducing the number of players in a team from 11 to seven; shortening the length of the pitch from 20 m to 15 m; reducing the boundary to 30-35 m from the wicket; and modifying ball and bat sizes (PTG 2095-10609, 4 April 2017).

Angle Vale is one of nine clubs fielding a team in the Para District Cricket Association (PDCA) and president Jim Richardson has welcomed the new format.  But he also raised concerns about disrupting players’ development with the bat.  “In the bowling, it’s improved their skills, but in the batting it hasn’t”, Richardson said. “It gives every kid a chance, but it doesn’t teach a kid how to bat for a long time”.

Riverside secretary David France, however, said the new rules made it easier to score runs and ensured all players had an equal opportunity to bat and bowl.  “It gets everyone involved compared to some of the old rules where it could’ve been abused in a way where you put your good players in and try to dominate the game”, he said.

But North Pines junior and women’s coaching director Mark Fidock said the club had turned away budding players because it did not have enough volunteers to accommodate teams of seven.  “We managed to get two junior sides up when we probably could’ve had four if it was eleven in a side”, Fidock said.  “I don’t mind the actual rules – it’s just cutting it down from eleven to seven just means we need more help which we don’t get”.

PDCA president Andrew Quinlish is a strong supporter of the change. “It will have a positive impact with all the kids and the parents as well”, Quinlish said.  “The parents will be happier because their kids will not be sitting in the oval being bored and the kids will be happy having a bat, having a bowl and being involved in the game all the time”.

Happy Valley fields an Under-10 side in the South Central Junior Cricket Association. Junior co-ordinator Steve Dash said the rules changes had so far been “absolutely brilliant”.  SACA senior operations manager Vanessa Walker said that so far evidence confirmed that individual players were more active under the revised format.  “These outcomes deliver more positive, fun experiences for children with greater connection to their retention in the game”, Walker said.

Queenslander fined, reprimanded, for equipment abuse.

PTG Editor.

Wednesday, 8 November 2017.

PTG 2299-11618.

Queensland’s Joe Burns has been fined 20 per cent of his match fee and reprimanded for "abuse of cricket equipment or clothing, ground equipment or fixtures and fittings" during his side’s Sheffield Shield match against Tasmania in Hobart on Monday.  Burns was reported for the Level One offence by umpires Mike Graham-Smith and John Ward which occurred during Queensland’s second innings after Burns was bowled for 70.  Match referee Robert Parry considered the report from Graham-Smith and Ward and proposed the fines and reprimand.  Burns admitted his misdemeanour and accepted the sanction therefore a hearing was not required.

Slow over-rate fine for BPL’s Sylhet Sixes.

PTG Editor.

Wednesday, 8 November 2017.

PTG 2299-11619.

Sylhet Sixers have been fined for maintaining a slow over-rate during their Bangladesh Premier League Twenty20 match against Rajshahi Kings on Tuesday.  Match referee Rahul Neeyamur Rashid imposed the fine after the Nasir Hossain-led team were found to be two overs short of the mark when time allowances were taken into consideration.

As a result Nasir, who pleaded guilty to the offence and accepted the proposed sanction, was fined 40 percent of his match fee and his players each 20 percent.  The charge was laid by on-field umpires Anisur Rahman and Riazuddin, third umpire Sharfuddowla Ibne-Shahid Saikat and fourth umpire Moniruzzaman Tinku.  Earlier in the week the captain and his manager were reprimanded over a team sheet issue (PTG 2297-11609, 6 November 2017).

Badgers present a challenge for Yorkshire club.

PTG Editor.

Wednesday, 8 November 2017.

PTG 2299-11620.

Parkhead Cricket Club (PCC) on the outskirts of Sheffield in Yorkshire is having problems with a colony of Badgers who have taken to their ground with a vengeance, leaving holes and discarded dirt over a wide area.  Like all clubs that have been similarly affected in recent years, Parkhead have had to take a crash course in badger warfare, the first lesson of which is that they are a protected species, and it is illegal to trap or harm them or interfere with their burrows. 

The second lesson is that hi-tech sonic deterrents are pretty much useless, and the third is that of the three traditional repellents recommended by 'The Badger Trust', “human hair clippings, lion dung, and human urine”, one is a lot easier to obtain in large quantities than the other two. A PCC spokesman said that the club are now considering “putting buckets outside the local pub and asking people to wee in them rather than using the toilets"

Nearly five years ago, the Rickmansworth Cricket Club’s ground in Hertfordshire was ripped up and turned into a "mud bath" by the animals (PTG 1086-5288, 8 April 2013).

 

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 2,300

Sunday, 12 November 2017

 

• BCCI resists national doping agency request [PTG 2300-11621].

• Englishman completes Indian exchange [PTG 2300-11622].

• Tamil Nadu league match umpired by females for first time [PTG 2300-11623].

• Despite $NZ9.3 m deficit Plunket Shield 'not out' [PTG 2300-11624].

• Arson attack could lead to Manchester club’s demise [PTG 2300-11625].

BCCI resists national doping agency request.

Hindustan Times.

Friday, 10 November 2017.

PTG 2300-11621.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) said on Friday said it does not come under the jurisdiction of India's National Anti-doping Agency (INADA) as it is an “autonomous body affiliated to the International Cricket Council (ICC)”.  Late last month India’s national Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports (MYAS) directed INADA to enforce the World Anti-Doping Agency's (WADA) Code in all its "fairness and entirety” such that the BCCI conducts dope testing of its players during domestic and international matches played in India (PTG 2293-11591, 31 October 2017).

The BCCI has released separate letters it has written to INADA and the MYAS asserting that it follows the ICC Code, which is itself is based on the WADA Code, and that it has been doing so since 2011.  The BCCI told INADA that it “already has a robust dope testing mechanism which is employed both during competitions and out-of-competitions”, and the “testing of samples collected by International Doping Tests and Management is already being conducted at a WADA accredited laboratory under the aegis of the [MYAS]”.  

WADA has reportedly warned INADA that it may lose its affiliation to it if it fails to ensure the Indian board operates under its jurisdiction, but the BCCI has stated it is not possible.  The BCCI said that as it "is not a National Sports Federation, NADA does not have jurisdiction to conduct dope testing on Indian cricketers.  There is no requirement for any BCCI official to coordinate with INADA for dope testing of Indian cricketers either during competitions or out-of-competitions”, the board asserted.

The BCCI claims that starting in 2013 it has recorded the highest number of sample testing among all national cricket boards around the world and pointed to it being the only sports body in India which has "created a 24x7 anti-doping ‘helpline’".  The BCCI’s Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators says it is satisfied with the current anti-doping system in place in Indian cricket.  Reports indicate that Indian cricketers are not comfortable signing the "whereabouts clause" — which requires them to disclose their location to the International Sports Federation, or in India’s case, INADA.

Englishman completes Indian exchange.

PTG Editor.

Sunday, 12 November 2017.

PTG 2300-11622.

England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) Full List member Martin Saggers stood in two-match Ranji Trophy first class matches over the last month as part of the ECB’s on-going umpire exchange agreement with the Board of Control for Cricket in India. Saggers, 45, who went on exchange to the West Indies in January last year (PTG 1749-8714, 29 January 2016), first stood in a game in Mumbai between the home side and Tamil Nadu with BCCI umpire Virender Sharma who was in England on exchange in July last year, and then in the match between Maharashtra and Karnataka in Gahunje with Abhijit Deshmukh.  The two fixtures were his 101st and 102nd as a first class umpire.

Tamil Nadu league match umpired by females for first time.

PTG Editor.

Sunday, 12 November 2017.

PTG 2300-11623.

Two women umpires stood together in a mens’ Tamil Nadu Cricket Association (TNCA) league match for the first time earlier this month.  The pair, who have been named as "Janani N. and Aarthi A”, umpired a TNCA fourth division game between the Nungambakkam and Sounder clubs at the Gandhi Nagar Cricket and Sports Club ground in Chennai.  Janani, a software engineer, qualified as an umpire and made her debut two-and-a-half years ago, while Aarthi is said to have been standing in a league fixture for the first time.

Despite $NZ9.3 m deficit Plunket Shield 'not out'.

David Leggat.

New Zealand Herald.

Friday, 10 November 2017.

PTG 2300-11624.

 

Speculation of an impending haircut to domestic cricket's first-class program has been put to rest for the ten-round Plunket Shield competition will remain intact for at least the 2018-19 austral summer and most likely beyond.  Three months ago reports surfaced that New Zealand Cricket (NZC) was looking at a major revamp of the Plunket Shield prior in the next year or so, the hint being that the 120 days of red ball cricket involved each season would be reduced (PTG 2233-11309, 20 August 2017).  Although NZC are working their way through a $NZ9.3 million ($A8.4 m, £UK4.9 m) deficit on their books (PTG 2299-11616, 9 November 2017), and the Shield is an expensive exercise, a spokesman said there are no plans to trim it back, at least in 2018-19.  

Arson attack could lead to Manchester club’s demise.

Manchester Evening News.

Friday, 10 November 2017.

PTG 2300-11625.

A cricket clubhouse in Lancashire has been burnt to the ground in what some claim is a race hate attack, arsonists striking the Fothergill and Harvey Cricket Club in Littleborough on Bonfire Night.  That incident came a week after a break-in at the club which saw about £UK10,000 ($A17,220) of damage caused and racist graffiti sprayed on the walls.  Committee members at the 40-year-old club, which is made up predominantly of Asian players, believe the two incidents are linked and fear the team could now be forced to fold.

First team player and committee member Kamran Afzal, 34, said: “It is disgusting. The club is like a second home to a lot of us. The players put money in from our own pockets to keep it going and we do all the work on the pitch and ground ourselves.  It is very clearly a hate crime and we have reported it to police as a hate crime.  We occasionally get kids shouting racist abuse at us during games and training sessions as they cycle past on the canal towpath, but we have never seen anything like this before”.

Kamran, who has played for the team for seven years, says the club, whose first team were Greater Manchester League Division Five champions last season, could now be forced to fold.  The clubhouse was uninsured and he indicated the committee cannot afford to rebuild it from club coffers, saying: “At this stage we do not know if we are going to be able play cricket next year. If we do not get the funding to rebuild it the club will have to close down. There is only about £UK600 ($A1,035) in the club’s funds - we cannot afford to rebuild it ourselves.  I am really worried about the future of the club and its really disturbing that this could happen”.

Other cricket clubs in the area have expressed their disgust at the attack and offered to helo where possible.  Richard Holland, secretary of Littleborough Lakeside Cricket Club, said: “It’s a real shame. There is a lot of history between our two clubs. We’ve been in the same league for a number of years and a few of our lads have played there, and some of them have played for us.  Over the last few years they have worked really hard to get the club to the situation they are in now. We will help them in any way we can, in terms of groundsmen or helping out with any equipment that might have been lost”.

A Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service spokeswoman said two fire engines were sent to the club and that crews spent three hours fighting the flames. They indicated that the cause of the blaze is under investigation.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 2,301

Monday, 13 November 2017

 

• Ashes to see Dharmasena become first Sri Lankan to reach 50 Tests [PTG 2301-11626].

Ashes to see Dharmasena become first Sri Lankan to reach 50 Tests.

PTG Editor

Monday, 13 November 2017.

PTG 2301-11626.

Eight match officials, two referees and six umpires from six countries, have been appointed to manage play in the five Ashes Tests over the next two months.  The series will see West Indian Richie Richardson oversee his first Ashes series as a referee, Sri Lankan umpire Kumar Dharmasena become the 14th person and first Sri lankan to reach the 50 Test mark, Chris Gaffaney of New Zealand stand in his first day-night Test, and Pakistan’s Aleem Dar edge ever closer to the all-time Test match umpire record.

Richardson will be on duty for the first three Tests in Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth and Ranjan Madugalle of Sri Lanka the last two, the Boxing day match in Melbourne and the New Years’ fixture in Sydney, games that will take their records as referees in Tests to 14 and 181 respectively.  Madugalle, for whom  its his ninth Ashes series, five of which will have been played in England and four in Australia, will be looking after his 16th MCG Boxing day Test in the last twenty years, and fourth such Ashes Test there.

In addition to Dar, Dharmasena and Gaffaney, the other umpires are Marais Erasmus of South Africa, Sundarum Ravi of India and Joel Wilson of the West Indies.  All except Wilson, who is a member of the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP), are from the ICC’s Elite Umpires Panel (EUP).  

Dar, Erasmus and Gaffaney will be together for the first three Tests, and Dharmasena, Ravi and Wilson for the last two.  Dar and Erasmus will be on-field for the opening game in Brisbane with Gaffaney the television umpire, for the day-night match in Adelaide it will be Dar and Gaffaney on-field and Erasmus the third umpire, and Perth will see Erasmus and Gaffaney together with Dar in the television room.  

The Melbourne match will be Dharmasena’s 50th Test and his third, and Ravi’s second, Boxing Day on-ground there, while Wilson will be the third umpire.  In Sydney a week later Wilson will be on-field with Dharmasena with Ravi the television umpire.

The fourth umpires for the series will come from the three Australian IUP member Simon Fry, Paul Wilson and Sam Nogajski, there being no official word as yet as to whether Gerard Abood has been formally accepted on to that panel (PTG 2268-11478, 6 October 2017).  Cricket Australis (CA) is yet to announce those assignments, however, they have been made but CA is often tardy in formally releasing such information.

During the series Dar will be standing in his 22nd and 23rd Ashes Test, both Erasmus and Dharmasena their 10th and 11th, Gaffaney his second and third, and Ravi his second, while for Wilson his games will be his Ashes debut.  By series Dar’s Test record will stand at 116 on-field and 21 as the television umpire (116/21), just 12 short of Steve Bucknor’s all-time record of 128, Dharmasena 51/13, Erasmus 47/31, Ravi 24/20, Gaffaney 16/15, and Wilson, a EUP contender who is to stand in the India-Sri Lanka series prior to the Ashes, 7/7 (PTG 2297-11605, 6 November 2017).

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 2,302

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

 

• 'Concussion substitute’ used in first class game [PTG 2302-11627].

Ashes series scorers, fourth umpires, named [PTG 2302-11628].

Derbyshire escape censure over washed-out Kent game [PTG 2302-11629].

Vandals hit new Queensland ground for six [PTG 2302-11630].

'Concussion substitute’ used in first class game.

PTG Editor

Tuesday, 14 November 2017.

PTG 2302-11627.

Tasmania used a concussion substitute in its on-going Sheffield Shield match against Victoria at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Tuesday, the first case of such a move in a first class fixture.  Batsman Jake Doran opened in Tasmania’s second innings in place of Jordan Silk who suffered delayed-onset concussion after ducking into a bouncer in the first hour of play in the game on Monday.  Silk fielded for Tasmania on Monday afternoon and Tuesday morning before being formally replaced after he was “shaken up” in taking a diving catch whilst fielding in Victoria’s first innings..

Doran was not in Tasmania’s twelve for the game but had travelled to Melbourne as part of a 13-man squad.  Given Silk’s skills as an opener did not directly match those of side’s listed twelfth man, spin bowling all-rounder Beau Webster, Tasmania requested that auxiliary opener Doran, who had remained in Melbourne despite being initially overlooked for the tea, fill the vacancy.  Victoria agreed to that substitution.

It is the first time a concussion substitute has been used in first class cricket since the rule was introduced to the Shield this austral summer (PTG 2233-11309, 20 August 2017). Four months ago the International Cricket Council (ICC) recommended its member bodies trial, over the next two years, the use of replacement players when concussion-related injuries occur in first class matches and that the first class status of the games not be affected (PTG 2190-11096, 5 July 2017).  Prior to that Cricket Australia (CA) had twice asked the ICC for concussion substitutes to apply in its first class games (PTG 1844-9246, 4 June 2016), however, both submissions were rejected by the world body.  

   

The importance of concussion management in cricket was highlighted by the death of Phillip Hughes in 2014 after he was struck on the neck by a bouncer during a Shield match in Sydney.  CA introduced concussion substitutes to its domestic one-day matches during the 2016-17 austral summer under the organisation's then new 'Concussion and Head Trauma Policy', but because of the ICC’s then position on the latter the same rule did not apply to Sheffield Shield first class games (PTG 2022-10227, 7 January 2017).  New South Wales’ Daniel Hughes later became the first player to come off under the rule in a one-day game (PTG 1956-9840, 23 October 2016).  

Over the past year there have been a number of incidents in several countries of players suffering concussion during games (PTG 2206-11471, 4 October 2017).  There has also been a number of research projects underway (PTG 2087-10574, 27 March 2017), one being to install sensors in helmets to help them gauge the impact of hits to the head as part of measures aimed at increasing the understanding of concussion in the game (PTG 1958-9855, 25 October 2016).  CA indicated earlier this month that the number of concussion cases reported in its games had risen in recent years, most likely as a result of its more conservative approach to managing such issues (PTG 2294-11597, 2 November 2017).

Ashes series scorers, fourth umpires, named.

PTG Editor.

Tuesday, 14 November 2017.

PTG 2302-11628.

Cricket Australia (CA) has named ten as the official scorers to record the details of the five Ashes Tests that are to be played over the next five weeks.  Gail Cartwright and Cliff Howard will be in the scorers’ box in Brisbane, Mick Harper and Neil Ricketts in Adelaide, Lance Catchpole and Sandy Wheeler in Perth, Kevin Neill and Craig Reece in Melbourne and Christine Bennison and Darrell Mattison.  All are well known names in the Australian scoring community and as far as can be determined, given the incompleteness of scorer records, all have scored in Tests previously, many of them for a significant number of years.

CA has also indicated which of its members on the International Cricket Council’s second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP) will serve as four umpires during the series.  Paul Wilson will work in that capacity in games one and three in Brisbane and Perth, his eight and ninth, Sam Nogajski in the day-night fixture in Adelaide and the boxing Day Test in melbourne, his third and fourth in that role, before new IUP member Gerard Abood comes in for the Sydney Test, his fourth as a fourth umpire.  The only Australian IUP member missing is Simon Fry who over the last two years has himself stood in seven Tests (PTG 2273-11500, 12 October 2017).

Derbyshire escape censure over washed-out Kent game.

BBC News.

Tuesday, 14 November 2017.

PTG 2302-11629.

Derbyshire have escaped punishment over the loss of their entire rain-hit four-day County Championship match with Kent at Chesterfield in September, however, the England and Wales Cricket Board's (ECB) Cricket Discipline Commission (CDC) have cautioned the county.  The CDC has also advised all first-class counties to not use out-grounds before mid-May or in September in future.

Derbyshire have staged more than 400 first-class matches at Queens's Park, Chesterfield since they played their first game there in 1898  The game was moved there as the County Ground, Derby, had hosted a ‘Boyzone' concert the previous Saturday.  But the move backfired when bad weather left the Queen's Park outfield waterlogged, eventually leading to a complete abandonment.  Derbyshire had already made, in the immediate wake of the washed-out Kent game,  the decision to use Chesterfield as an out-ground only in the "core summer months”.  

The club's chief executive Simon Storey said: "We are grateful that we have had the opportunity to respond in full to all of the submissions made in regard to the abandonment and the scheduling of concerts.  It is in the interest of Derbyshire and all first-class counties hosting non-cricket events to learn from this experience moving forward. We have agreed to accept the advice and caution issued by the CDC”.

CDC deputy chairman Mike Smith described Derbyshire's decision to host a concert at Derby, three days before the scheduled fixture, as “optimistic”, but there "was no breach of the ECB pitch document in relation to the state of the Chesterfield pitch; and there is no evidence that there was a material likelihood 72 hours before the scheduled start that there would be no play across the course of the match”.

Smith referred to "the very professional efforts" of the Chesterfield authorities and groundstaff, of whom "no criticism at all” was made.  He said: "While Derbyshire considered their decision to host a concert carefully beforehand and acted on the advice of the promoter, their decision to host the concert in September was taken with insufficient experience as to how long it would take their ground to recover”, and "although the importance for counties of raising revenue through wider non-cricketing opportunities such as the staging of concerts is acknowledged and understood".

Vandals hit new Queensland ground for six.

Stuart Cumming.

Sunshine Coast Daily.

Tuesday, 14 November 2017.

PTG 2302-11630.

Vandals in south-east Queensland ripped boards off a new sightscreen and torn down sections of a white picket boundary fence at the Buderim Cricket Club's home ground on Saturday evening.  It came after the club formed a partnership with University of the Sunshine Coast to launch the ground last month, a project that cost the Sunshine Coast Council around $A270,000 (£UK157,410).

Club president Jeff Bradfield said he went straight to the ground after being told of the damage on Sunday morning.  He said: "It is really disappointing to all the people involved who put all of the hard work in.  Ultimately it is a community asset.  We are trying to help build a better community”.  The cost of repairs to the plastic composite palings and beams is expected to run into the thousands of dollars.

The club's junior coordinator Chris Agapow said the Buderim women's team were due to have their first home game at the grounds this coming Sunday.  "It would have been nice to have everything ship shape for them”, said Agapow.  He indicated though the club would have to get the damage fixed and move on for "Hopefully it is just a one off”.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 2,303

Thursday, 16 November 2017

 

• Helmet manufacturer ‘Masuri' calls for neck guard regulation [PTG 2303-11631].

• Test debut for Western Australian scorer [PTG 2303-11632].

• Burnt toast stops play [PTG 2303-11633].

• Country-based umpire on 'all-women' CA female U-18 series panel [PTG 2303-11634].

• Umpire nominated for NSW sports award [PTG 2303-11635].

• Captain, keeper suspended over on-field incidents [PTG 2303-11636].

Helmet manufacturer ‘Masuri' calls for neck guard regulation.

Andrew Wu.

Fairfax Media.

Thursday, 16 November 2017.

PTG 2303-11631.

Cricket Australia's (CA) official helmet supplier has called for greater regulation of the neck guard market as it believes players at all levels are at risk of serious injury unless minimum standards are introduced.  Helmet manufacturer ‘Masuri' is lobbying for the introduction of independent testing for the protective equipment, which has been used by some players since the death of Phillip Hughes in 2014.  The company is concerned consumers may not be receiving the protection they believe they are getting as there are no independent standards in place.

A cricket working party, which included CA, the England and New Zealand boards, the International Cricket Council and leading manufacturers, was set up last December in regards to neck guards but no agreement has been reached on the standards required.  It is understood suppliers have been unable to agree if the aim of the equipment is to deflect or protect. The rarity of the freak injury that caused Hughes' death is also believed to have clouded views on what that standard should be.

An independent review into Hughes' death, conducted by Melbourne barrister David Curtain QC last year, found there was "limited scientific evidence that current neck guards will prevent a similar tragedy and they must be properly evaluated before they are mandated” (PTG 1825-9124, 12 May 2016).  CA, which is being represented on the working party by its sports science and sports medicine manager Alex Kountouris, is in favour of a minimum standard being set.  ‘Masuri', which is also on the party, had believed minimum requirements would be set by April and is now calling for urgent action.

Masuri's chief executive Sam Miller said: "How we've got to November and not had any form of compromise, I struggle to understand why it's been made so complicated.  What I would like to see is a minimum standard so consumers have protection, the phase two and three is developing that standard and learning more”.  ‘Masuri', whose neck guards retail for $A90 (£UK52), about twice the cost of its competitors, says there is a risk there are products on the market that "aren't fit for purpose".

Miller believes the "bigger risk is there are people who go to reputable outlets to buy a product assume independent regulation is happening. "If there isn't independent regulation then there is a risk."

Helmet provider ‘Ayrtek', which is on the cricket working party, supported the introduction of minimum safety standards.  "By having an industry standard it means a certain amount of due diligence should be carried out before a product is marketed”, said Ayrtek's Tom Milsom.  "Which from my perspective as a sports equipment designer is very important when providing something intended to offer a level of protection to the end user”.

The ‘Gunn and Moore’ (GM) company said they supported minimum standards but it would take time.  "There are, however, means for manufacturers to test their neck guards, which GM has done”, said its managing director Peter Wright. "There is no doubt some neck guards are not fit for purpose as they are unlikely to do what they are supposed to do”.  Comment has also been sought from other companies involved in the working party.

Test debut for Western Australian scorer.

PTG Editor

Wednesday, 15 November 2017.

PTG 2303-11632.

Perth-based scorer Lance Catchpole, who has recorded the details of One Day Internationals and Under-19 Tests, will become the 107th Australian to score in a Test match during the third game of the Ashes series next month, according to scorer historian Adam Morehouse.  Catchpole and nine others were earlier this week named as the official scorers for the five Test series over the next six weeks (PTG 2302-11628, 15 November 2017).

While Catchpole will be on debut, Adelaide’s Mick Harper will be working in his second Test, Sydney’s Darren Mattison and Brisbane’s Gail Cartwright both their third, Cartwright’s state colleague Cliff Howard number four, and Harper’s co-worker Neil Ricketts’ his sixth.  For those whose Test record is already in double figures, the Sydney Test will be Christine Bennison’s fourteenth, Melbourne’s Craig Reece his nineteenth, and Sandy Wheeler in Perth her twentieth, while Reece’s colleague Kevin O’Neill will reach the thirty mark.

Morehouse, who last year after considerable research released a provisional list of Australian Test scorers (PTG 1985-9499, 9 August 2017), has been continuing his work and recently added former Australian umpire Jim Phillips to the list as he was the Australian Scorer on the 1899 tour of England.  Born in Stawell, Victoria, Phillips also stood in 29 Tests between 1885 and 1906, 13 in Australia, 11 in England - 3 of them at Lord’s - and five in South Africa, but none in his scorer year of 1899.

Burnt toast stops play.

Australian Associated Press.

Wednesday, 15 November 2017.

PTG 2303-11633.

Rain, snow, pigs - cricket matches have been halted for odd things before. Now burnt toast, which triggered a smoke alarm, can be added to that list.  A week before the Ashes series starts, Australia Test spinner Nathan Lyon caused play to be halted for 30 minutes in a Sheffield Shield match at Allan Border Field in Brisbane on Wednesday after his attempt at making a snack went wrong.

New South Wales were batting and were within sight of a three-day outright victory when a fire alarm went off.  The Stuart Law grandstand, where the press, scorers and players were watching on, was evacuated, while the confused players on the field and umpires Phillip Gillespie and Simon Lightbody were led off.  The fire brigade arrived at the ground and eventually gave the all-clear, after which New South Wales resumed their innings, going on to wrap up a six-wicket victory.

Lyon said after the match: "[The toast] popped up first and I wasn't happy so I put it back down and I got carried away watching the cricket.  It happens every second week [at home], I reckon. I was getting a bit bored in the change rooms.  [Australian and NSW captain] Steven Smith has said he's going to cover the fire truck call-out fee”.

Country-based umpire on 'all-women' CA female U-18 series panel.

PTG Editor

Wednesday, 15 November 2017.

PTG 2303-11634.

Lisa McCabe, who is in her third season of umpiring with the Bendigo District Cricket Association (BDCA) in country Victoria, has been chosen to stand in Cricket Australia’s (CA) 2017 female Under-18 championship series in Canberra later this month, according to a story published in the 'Bendigo Advertiser' on Wednesday.  Just who will join her in that series is unknown as CA is yet to make a public announcement on the matter, however, the ‘Advertiser’ story states all eight umpires who are to stand in the event are, for the first time, women. 

In October 2015, McCabe became the first female to umpire in a BDCA senior game when she stood in a second XI match.  As well as umpiring in the BDCA on a Saturday, during the current season she has also been making the 300 km round-trip to Melbourne on Sundays to stand in Cricket Victoria's Women’s Premier League competition.  She told the ‘Advertiser’ on Wednesday:  “The national championships are an exciting opportunity that has come out of the blue.  It’s the next level, so it’s a bit daunting, but I’m really looking forward to it”.

McCabe says she is getting increasingly confident in her decision-making with each game she plays.  “That comes with being more understanding of the laws of the game and being comfortable with them.  The players are fantastic… they give me a lot of help and feedback after games, but the biggest thing has been being able to have the confidence to stand my ground when I know I’m right.  I have that bad habit that I like to be liked, but I’m working out that as an umpire you’re not always going to be liked”.

According to McCabe “one of the great opportunities the [ten-day long] championships offer is to be observed in every game by match officials and referees from [CA].  We will be getting videoed, there will be coaching and seminars on rest days, so I know when I come back to Bendigo I’ll be a much better umpire”.

Other potential female umpires for the series include McCabe’s BDCA colleague Helen Wardlaw (PTG 2027-10258, 20 January 2017), South Australian Eloise Sheridan, who made her debut in a mens’ first grade match in Adelaide last month (PTG 2291-11578, 28 October 2017), and her state colleague Mary Waldron.  In addition there are the likes of Sydney’s Manjinder Sandhu and Michelle Evans, Melbourne's Sarah Fishley, plus Karen Naylor from Brisbane, and Canberra's Deanne Young and Margaret Marshall.  The latter pair took part in last year’s CA female U-18 series in Hobart.

Umpire nominated for NSW sports award.

PTG Editor

Wednesday, 15 November 2017.

PTG 2303-11635.

Sydney-based umpire Claire Polosak is one of six nominations for the ‘Match Official of the Year’ category at New South Wales’ (NSW) major sports awards ceremony on Monday week.  Polosak is up against nominations of three male and two other female officials from the sports of Judo, Netball, Paddle Board, Rugby Union and Surf Life Saving.  According to Sports NSW chairman Joseph La Posta: “Each nominee is a role model within their sport and their local community”. 

Polosak, 29, a member of both Cricket Australia's (CA) Project Panel and second-tier Development Panel as well as the International Cricket Council’s second-tier Development Panel, has had an exceptional 12 months in terms of appointments allocated to her.  She debuted in a Womens’ One Day International (ODI) last November and has since gone on to stand in twelve more, four of them being in the Womens’ World Cup in England, and five in a Qualifier for that event played in Colombo, including the final.  There were also both an Under-19  four-day Test and an ODI.

At the domestic level she stood in the final of CA’s 2016-17 Womens’ National Cricket League series, made her debut in a mens’ state second XI four-day fixture, and last month stood at List A level, the first women in Australia to have done so (PTG 2260-11445, 27 September 2017).  She looks likely to work as a television umpire in CA’s Twenty20 Big Bash League series later this austral summer.

Captain, keeper suspended over on-field incidents.

PTG Editor

Wednesday, 15 November 2017.

PTG 2303-11636.

Northern Victoria's Cricket Shepparton has suspended Ramadan Yze, the captain of the Central Park-St Brendan’s Cricket Club (CPSBCC), for three matches, and his wicketkeeper Jack McCarten for one, as a result of incidents that occurred in a match against Tatura two Saturday’s ago.  Umpires Russell Baldi and Gary Wood cited Yze for a number of offences, a "bad record" not helping his cause at the tribunal, while McCarten was reported twice on Level One dissent charges.

Cricket Shepparton’s director of senior cricket Michael Van Dorsser indicated Yze was reported "on multiple Level One and Two offences, and he had a [previous report] hanging over his head from last year’s one-day final, so his first Level One offence automatically drew a one-game suspension”.  He had three counts against him of not being able to control his team as captain, which Cricket Shepparton has counted as one offence, while local media reports allege he also "attempted to elbow an opponent”.

In addition to Yze and McCarten, their CPSBCC team mate, 250-game veteran Brendan Scott, was reprimanded for dissent and will have to remain on his best behaviour for the remainder of the season if he is to avoid suspension.  A media report also indicates a "mediation session”, that was to be run by Cricket Shepparton, was scheduled to be held between the club and umpire Baldi last Saturday "to discuss [the previous] weekend’s incidents”.  No details of the outcome of those discussions have been made public.

Van Dorsser is reported to have indicated he expects more player reports to occur, but encouraged all involved to focus on what they could control in the game.  ‘‘The umpires make a decision one way or another and sometimes players don’t like or agree with that decision”, he said.  ‘‘But umpires are there to control the game and make decisions on what they see, so people need to live with those decisions and move on”.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 2,304

Friday, 17 November 2017

 

• Dar faces trial by UDRS in Australian Test return [PTG 2304-11637].

• Second national captain the subject of potentially ‘corrupt’ approach [PTG 2304-11638].

• Language outburst results in reprimand [PTG 2304-11639].

• Suspect action test leads to third suspension for bowler [PTG 2304-11640].

• Test cricket's value plummeting, says CA chief executive [PTG 2304-11641].

• Airline making cricket broadcasts available at 30,000 feet [PTG 2304-11642].

• Women's Ashes Test gets quarter-of-a-million 'on line' views [PTG 2304-11643].

Dar faces trial by UDRS in Australian Test return.

Chris Barrett and Andrew Wu. 

Fairfax Media.

Thursday, 16 November 2017.

PTG 2304-11637.

 

Australia's team has turned the corner since its horror series against South Africa a year ago and it's to be hoped umpire Aleem Dar has too.  The Pakistani match official returns to Australia for the first time since his inconsistent performance here 12 months ago, this time to stand in the first two Tests of the Ashes in Brisbane and Adelaide (PTG 2301-11626, 13 November 2017).

Dar has been one of the finest finger raisers of the past 15 years, having won the David Shepherd Trophy as the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) ‘Umpire of the Year’ three times. But there is a feeling in some circles his best days are behind him, despite his continued presence on the ICC's Elite Umpires Panel.

We understand umpiring is not easy, but nor is batting and bowling and that does not stop players from coming under the microscope.  So badly was Dar travelling last austral summer when he stood in two Australia-South Africa Tests, it felt like any challenge against his decisions would be a better than even-money chance of being overturned (PTG 1973-9938, 11 November 2016).  At one point in Hobart, six of the seven overturned decisions had been made by Dar.  His up and down form in the Bangladesh series three months ago would have done little to inspire further confidence among the Australians.

Teams are now more savvy with how they use Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) and it will not be surprising if both sides in the Ashes series take on Dar. Under new UDRS rules, teams do not lose a review if a referral is unsuccessful due to an "umpire's call", giving them more margin for error to challenge.  On the flip side, teams no longer have their challenges replenished after 80 overs, which means there can be only two unsuccessful reviews per innings.

Dar is no stranger to Ashes controversy, having incorrectly adjudged Stuart Broad not out at Trent Bridge in 2013. Here's hoping recent form is not a guide and there will not be more headlines to come in the next few weeks.

Second national captain the subject of potentially ‘corrupt’ approach.

Firdose Moonda.

Cricinfo.

Wednesday, 15 November 2017.

PTG 2304-11638.

Zimbabwean captain Graeme Cremer was the target of a potentially corrupt approach ahead of the first Test against West Indies last month and the International Cricket Council (ICC} launched an investigation into the matter after Cremer reported the approach.  His players were told before the first Test of that series that a team member had been made an offer to engage in corrupt activities but did not act on it. Instead, the ICC's Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU) was informed and they have taken over the process of investigating, a process that Zimbabwe Cricket is co-operating with.

An ICC spokesperson said that the world body "can confirm that there is an ACU ongoing investigation in Zimbabwe and because there is an ongoing investigation, I cannot share any further details". "However, the ICC has urged anyone who has any information to contact the ACU via contactacu@icc-cricket.com."

It is the second time in two months that a corrupt approach has been made to an international captain around an international match - or at least the second that such an approach has become public. During the One Day International (ODI) series between Pakistan and Sri Lanka last month, Sarfraz Ahmed, the Pakistan captain, also reported an allegedly corrupt approach made to him (PTG 2284-11552, 22 October 2017).

Days later, senior Indian curator, Pandurang Salgaoncar, was suspended, pending an investigation, after he was the target of a sting operation by a TV channel.  He wast captured him on video talking to reporters allegedly posing as bookies about the pitch, ahead of India's second ODI against New Zealand in Pune. Like the Sarfraz approach, that is also the subject of an ACU investigation (PTG 2290-11574, 27 October 2017).

Language outburst results in reprimand.

PTG Editor.

Friday, 17 November 2017.

PTG 2304-11639.

Trinidad and Tobago batsman Yannic Cariah has been reprimanded for "using language that was obscene, offensive or insulting", when he yelled an expletive after being dismissed in his side’s Cricket West Indies (CWI) ‘domestic’ first class match against the Windward Islands in Port of Spain last week.  He was reported by on-field umpires Danesh Ramdhanie and Gregory Brathwaite, along with reserve umpire Kellman Kowlessar, for a Level One breach of CWI's Code of Conduct.  Cariah admitted to the offence and accepted the sanction proposed by match referee Michael Ragoonath, therefore there was no need for a formal hearing into the matter.

Suspect action test leads to third suspension for bowler.

Cricinfo.

Thursday, 16 November 2017.

PTG 2304-11640.

Pakistan will once again have to do without the bowling services of Mohammad Hafeez, after he was suspended from bowling in international cricket by the International Cricket Council (ICC) for the third time in three years. An independent assessment at Loughborough University in England found Hafeez's action to be illegal - the third time in recent years that has been the case.

Hafeez, currently the world's top-ranked One Day International (ODI) allrounder, was reported for a suspect action after the third ODI against Sri Lanka in Abu Dhabi last month (PTG 2282-11545, 20 October 2017), and underwent his assessment in Loughborough two weeks ago. According to the ICC  the assessment revealed that a majority of Hafeez's deliveries exceeded the 15 degrees level of tolerance permitted under the its regulations. 

In Loughborough, data on Hafeez's action was captured for four overs' worth of deliveries - the data that is recorded is only for those deliveries where testers are satisfied that the match action has been replicated in the lab. It is believed that less than half a dozen deliveries were within the 15-degree limit, but that margins he was over by were not as big as, for example, Saeed Ajmal's when he was suspended a few years ago.

Even though it is the third time he has been suspended from bowling in three years, under ICC rules he will be able to return to bowling as soon as he has rectified his action and passed another assessment. There is a suggestion, however, that he will give himself as much time as he needs to resolve issues in his action before he applies for a re-assessment. He tweeted after the news of his suspension came out that he will work twice as hard to rectify his action this time.

Hafeez's action was first reported in November 2014, during a Test series against New Zealand and suspended from bowling in December (PTG 1477-7145, 8 December 2014). By April 2015, he had remodelled his action enough to satisfy another test and he was cleared to bowl again. Just a couple of months later, however, he was reported again during the Galle Test against Sri Lanka. Tests confirmed again that his action was illegal, and because his action had been found illegal twice within a period of 24 months, he was automatically suspended from bowling for 12 months (PTG 1595-7717, 19 July 2015).

Though it hasn't happened before, if a bowler returns and is found to have an illegal action once again after this - as has now happened with Hafeez - he goes back to square one; that is, there is no bar on how soon he can return to bowling provided he has corrected his action and cleared an assessment. In a different time, Hafeez's action was called in Australia as well - back in 2005 - while just before he was reported in November 2014, he was also reported in a Champions League T20 game in India (PTG 1436-6947, 29 September 2014).

Pakistan's next assignment is a limited-overs series in New Zealand in January, and there is the possibility of a Twenty20 series against West Indies in Pakistan in March, but otherwise the side is not scheduled to play any international cricket until the tour to England in May.  In the interim there will be Pakistan Super League (PSL) Twenty20 league where, according to ICC regulations, he can bowl should the Pakistan Cricket Board choose to allow it. 

In the first PSL in 2016, however, when Hafeez was serving a 12-month suspension, the league chose to not allow him to bowl. Hafeez was also expected to fly out to the Bangladesh Premier League on Friday, to play for Comilla Victorians, but is now expected to skip the tournament and instead concentrate on working on his action.

Test cricket's value plummeting, says CA chief executive.

Daniel Brettig.

Cricinfo. 

Thursday, 16 November 2017.

PTG 2304-11641.

Some days of international cricket are more equal than others. James Sutherland, the chief executive of Cricket Australia (CA), a business that describes itself as the “custodian" of the game in that country, has revealed how three hours of a single Twenty20 International (T20I) are worth as much to India television broadcasters as five days of a Test match, a market reality that underlines the parlous state of the game's longest form without context.

Speaking to 'The Grade Cricketer' podcast, Sutherland said that "alarm bells" were ringing for Test cricket all round the world, in spite of the sold out crowds and strong television ratings expected for this summer's Ashes series between Australia and England. The International Cricket Council (ICC) recently, and at long last, approved plans for a World Test Championship to begin in 2019 (PTG 2275-11514, 14 October 2017), but Sutherland said the slide of the five-day game's value was creating major headaches around cricket's future.

When asked how he saw Test cricket looking in 15 years’ time Sutherland said: "In many ways there's so much doubt about Test cricket and its future I think and in some parts of the world it really is in a desperate state. That's partly because it's just not commercially viable.  There are some really significant warning signals in some parts of the world".

"As a starting point if you go to India, the country where there is supposedly the most lucrative commercial market, the current valuations on a Test match, five days of Test cricket, is exactly the same as the valuation on a three-hour T20I. That's a perspective on what the market in the biggest country in the cricketing world sees as the value of Test cricket, and that has a significant flow-on impact to other countries".

"So the alarm bells are ringing for Test cricket and that's one of the reasons why I think this context around Test cricket is so important with this league championship. In 15 years' time I sincerely hope that this league will create extra relevance and drive and importance for Test cricket, ideally the championship has significant incentives for countries and players to stay involved in Test cricket, and the rewards and recognition from that will also be seen and reflected in fans coming and continuing to stay connected to the game”.

Apart from the creation of the Test Championship to foster "third party" relevance and context to matches for fans not supporting either of the competing teams, Sutherland has also been an advocate for day-night Test matches to have more of their span played at a time when greater audience sizes are available both at the ground and on television.

A third area in which he said the game could be enhanced is by the preparation of more bowler-friendly pitches in Tests, so that the balance between bat and ball is more even than that often seen in One Day International and T20I formats dominated largely by batsmen. "I think to even that up a little bit for the bowler would make for more compelling Test cricket”, he said, for "Money is basically a function of fan interest and support and there's a lot of romantic connection to Test cricket and rightly so”, said Sutherland. "But Test cricket has to remain relevant and contemporary for the modern-day fan and I think it's challenged by the fact there are two other forms of the game that are alternatives".

Having just witnessed the women's Ashes Test at North Sydney Oval, Sutherland said there was little prospect of more long-form women's matches being scheduled. "World cricket -- ICC and its member countries -- have decided that the best format by which to promote the women's game is the T20 format”, he said.  "That's the primary format and we continue to hold on the men's side Test cricket as the primary format and the game that we want to preserve and make the ultimate form. We won't see a lot more women's Test cricket in the future but hopefully it will continue to be part of the Ashes at least” (PTG 2304-11643 below).

Airline making cricket broadcasts available at 30,000 feet.

PTG Editor.

Friday, 17 November 2017.

PTG 2304-11642.

Australian airline Qantas has worked with Cricket Australia (CA) in a move that will allow passengers on domestic routes watch live every game of international cricket played in Australia from their plane seat for free (PTG 1908-9576, 26 August 2016).  Qantas will live stream 75 matches of professional cricket played on Australian turf this austral summer on domestic aircraft fitted with in-flight Wi-Fi, the games involved including Women’s Ashes Twenty 20 fixtures, men’s Ashes Tests, One Day Internationals and Twenty20 Internationals, plus the mens’ and womens’ Big Bash Leagues.

From January, Qantas’ in-flight entertainment system will have a dedicated cricket channel produced by CA Digital “exclusively" for the airline.  "Qantas is proud to support the men’s and women’s teams through our [CA] partnership, and as part of that we’re able to offer more than 400 hours of live cricket over the season to around 60,000 customers in-flight every week”, Qantas chief customer officer Olivia Wirth said in a statement.  

CA executive general manager of broadcasting and digital media Ben Amarfio said: “Our mantra of serving cricket fans wherever they are, is going to the next level with this fantastic initiative.  This unique partnership allows us to deliver on that even when cricket fans are 30,000 feet in the air [so] cricket fans won’t miss a ball of action”.

Following a trial earlier this year, Qantas has installed next-generation hardware Wi-Fi hardware on 15 Boeing 737 aircraft so far, and will start installing the technology on its domestic Airbus 330s from early next year, with a total 80 Boeing 737s and Airbus 330s aircraft to be fitted with the new equipment by the end of 2018.

Women's Ashes Test gets quarter-of-a-million 'on line' views.

CA web site.

Thursday, 16 November 2017.

PTG 2304-11643.

The success of last week's first-ever day-night womens’ Ashes Test has been laid bare by some record-breaking broadcast and social media figures.  While the 12,674 spectators who went to the North Sydney venue to watch play underlined the growth of the women's game, the number of people who tuned in to watch using a variety of on line devices was also impressive.  

In  total Cricket Australia's (CA) live stream digital-based Cricket Network (CN) recorded 236,068 “live broadcast views”, in addition BT Sports broadcasting the game on one of their channels to the UK and India's SonyLiv network to the sub-continent.

The broadcast was of a higher quality than anything CN had produced in the past for it involved the use of ten High Definition cameras, one of which recorded in super slow-motion.  There was also strong engagement on social media, with more than three million video views across CN's Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter pages.

CA's Head of Digital Finn Bradshaw said his organisation "was thrilled to be able to bring this historic event to our fans across the world [for it] really delivered on their strategy of 'levelling the [gender] playing field’.  "I’d also like to give a shout out to the commentary team who brought fantastic passion, insight and chemistry to the production”.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 2,305

Sunday, 19 November 2017

 

• South Africa’s Paleker promoted to IUP [PTG 2305-11644].

Throat infection sidelines Test umpire [PTG 2305-11645].

Second first class match for Aussie debutant [PTG 2305-11646].

South Africa’s Paleker promoted to IUP.

PTG Editor.

Saturday, 18 November 2017.

PTG 2305-11644.

 

South African umpire Allahudien Paleker has been promoted to a third umpire spot on the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) second-tier International Umpires Panel, according to reports from Cape Town, although as yet the ICC is yet to flag move on its web site.  Paleker’s selection means that the South African contingent on the IUP increases from three to four, the Cape Town-born umpire coming in alongside current on-field members  Shaun George and Adrian Holdstock and third umpire member Bongani Jele.

Paleker, 39, played 16 first class and twenty-one List A games for Northerns from 1997-2006 before making his umpiring debut at first class level in October 2009.  He has since gone on to stand in 68 first class games, two of them while on exchange in the Plunket Shield in New Zealand in February-March 2012, two in Australia in February 2014, and another two in India in January 2015.  In addition there have also been 50 List A matches, 46 Twenty 20s, 11 women's One Day Internationals (ODI), an Under-19 Test, and four Under-19 ODIs. 

The appointment means that South Africa becomes the fourth ICC Full Member to currently have four umpires, two on-field and two third umpires, on the IUP, the others being Australia, India and the West Indies.

Throat infection sidelines Test umpire.

PTG Editor.

Saturday, 18 November 2017.

PTG 2305-11645.

On-field umpire Richard Kettleborough pulled out of the third day's play in the opening Test between India and Sri Lanka at Eden Gardens in Kolkata on Saturday.  The Englishman was replaced by the television umpire, the West Indies' Joel Wilson, who went on to the ground with Nigel Long at the start proceedings.  

A Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) official indicated that Kettleborough had been sidelined with a throat infection.  As a result fourth umpire Anil Chaudhary moved into the TV umpire spot while the CAB’s Binod Thakur, who is believed to be a club-level umpire in Bengal, was brought in as the fourth official. As yet there has been no indication how long it will before Kettleborough is able to return to the match.

It was a particularly hard day for both on-field umpires and Chaudhary for there were a total of eight reviews, six by Sri Lanka (three each while bowling and batting), and two by India (one each when batting and bowling).  Llong and Wilson both had four of their decisions referred, Wilson having two struck down and two upheld, and Llong three struck down (one of which was ‘umpire’s call) and one upheld.  One each of the referrals were for caught scenarios, and two of Llong's and three of Wilson’s for LBW.  

There was also a claim for some that India should have been awarded five runs for “fake fielding’ by Sri Lankan captain Dinesh Chandimal, however, the umpires did not see it that way. 

Second first class match for Aussie debutant.

PTG Editor.

Saturday, 18 November 2017.

PTG 2305-11646.

Brisbane-based Donovan Koch, a member of Cricket Australia’s (CA) second-tier Development Panel who made his first class debut at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) last week (PTG 2295-11601, 3 November 2017), has been allocated a second game early next month, this time in Cairns where Queensland will play South Australia.  His on-field colleague will be CA National Umpire Panel (NUP) member Paul Wilson in what will probably be his last on-field role before January’s Under-19 World Cup in New Zealand. 

What is the last Sheffield Shield round before the break for CA’s Big Bash League will also see New Zealand exchange umpire Shaun Haig stand with NUP member Shawn Craig at the MCG where Victoria is to play Western Australia (PTG 2294-11595, 2 November 2017).  Craig went to NZ on exchange last February (PTG 2061-10434, 28 February 2017).  If CA follows its usual rotation in such matters he will travel to South Africa on exchange early next year, that country’s Brad White travelling in the opposite direction in February (PTG 2274-11507, 13 October 2017).

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 2,306

Monday, 20 November 2017

 

• ‘Racial slur’ leads team to abandon game [PTG 2306-11647]. 

• 'Should Knight have been given out’, asks MCC advisor [PTG 2306-11648].

• BPL pair lose half their match fees for ’serious dissent' [PTG 2306-11649].

• Sri Lankan camp offer clarity on UDRS appeal [PTG 2306-11650].

• 19 attending ACC Level 2 course in Lahore [PTG 2306-11651].

• Batsman goes berserk in 50 over game and scores 490 [PTG 2306-11652].

‘Racial slur’ leads team to abandon game. 

PTG Editor.

Monday, 20 November 2017.

PTG 2306-11647.

The Kāpiti Old Boys Cricket Club’s senior team, which plays in a Horowhenua Kāpiti Cricket Association (HKCA) north of Wellington, walked off the ground mid-match on Sunday after one of their number was racially abused by a batsman from the Levin Old Boys Cricket Club.  The batsman is reported to have been “angry" that the fielder, who was chasing a ball hit by the batsman, did not signal a boundary early enough, a situation that meant both batsmen had to "run longer than they needed to".

Levin has confirmed the incident, which happened in only the second over of their innings.  Club secretary Daniel Parker said the batsman swore and then directed the racial slur at the fielder.  "He's realised he shouldn't have said it. Everyone in our team has cringed at it as well”, said Parker, who went on to indicate the batsman apologised directly to the fielder, and play continued. However, about eight overs later the Kāpiti team gathered and made a decision to quit the match which was being umpired by the players themselves.

Parker said the batsman, whom he would not name, sat down with senior players after the match and “we all agreed there's no place for that” in the game, and that the player “will not be selected” by the club to play for “two or three weeks” as a result.  

HKCA chief executive Dave O'Brien says his organisation will "go through our normal due process in regards to any disciplinary stuff that needs to happen”.  He said that racial abuse “was not what cricket was about”.  Kāpiti Mayor K Gurunathan, who has Indian and Sri Lankan heritage, said the racial abuse was "really disappointing”.  "Come on. Cricket, of all games?  Cricket has got a very high culture ... I'm utterly disappointed that it's happened here in our patch”.  He said the decision by Kāpiti Old Boys to walk out as a team was "highly commendable".

'Should Knight have been given out’, asks MCC advisor. 

PTG Editor.

Sunday, 19 November 2017.

PTG 2306-11648.

Jonny Singer, the Marylebone Cricket Club’s (MCC) Laws of Cricket Advisor, has moved to clarify what the Law says in regard to the dismissal of England captain Heather Knight off the second ball of the first Twenty20 International between the Australian and England womens’ sides in Sydney last Friday.  Knight clearly edged the ball, and was caught behind by Alyssa Healy, but in doing to Healey dislodged a bail, and there was some debate about the situation on TV and on-line at the time.

Singer says that the MCC "thought it would be good to clear things up” and he starts by going through the decisions umpires Shawn Craig and Geoff Joshua had to make.  They were in order: did Knight hit the ball?; did the ball, or the wicket-keeper’s gloves, put the wicket down?; was the catch made fairly?; and what was the position of the wicket-keeper?

On the field, it was decided that Knight was ‘out', however, the matter was then handed up to third umpire John Ward to check.  “The easy bits”, says Singer, was that "Knight did hit the ball, so there was a possibility of a catch. The ball then went into Healy’s gloves, and it was the gloves that put the wicket down. That means it was a clean catch, but [Knight] could not have been out Bowled. So far, so simple".

He goes on to say “the real question comes over the position of the wicket-keeper” and points to Law 27.3.1 which states: “The wicket-keeper shall remain wholly behind the wicket at the striker’s end from the moment the ball comes into play until a ball delivered by the bowler: touches the bat or person of the striker; or passes the wicket at the striker’s end; or the striker attempts a run”.

In the Knight case once the ball has touched the bat, Healey can make the catch with some part of her gloves in front of the wicket.  However, the question then arises of Healy’s position at the moment the ball hits the bat, continues Singer.  "Some observers have pointed out that the wicketkeeper was not in front of the wicket and while this is correct, [but that] is not the relevant judgement in Law”, says Singer.

 

 

He goes on to say wicketkeepers "must remain ‘wholly' behind the wicket” until there requirements of Law 27.3.1 have been met. That means being in line with the stumps is not allowed - the whole person and equipment of the wicket-keeper must be behind the back edge of the stumps.  In the above still shot from this video footage Healey's gloves are, in fact, not wholly behind the wicket at the moment that bat and ball mtake contact. 

Singer says in that case he striker’s end umpire should have called a ‘no ball', perhaps with the help of the third umpire, and Knight should have been reprieved.  "That said”, he emphasises, "the margins are extremely tight, and this was not an easy decision". 

BPL pair lose half their match fees for ’serious dissent'.

PTG Editor.

Sunday, 19 November 2017.

PTG 2306-11649.

Both the captain and wicketkeeper of the Bangladesh Premier League’s (BPL) Comilla Victorians side have each been fined half of their match fee for showing “serious dissent”, a Level Two offence, at an umpire’s decision during their BPL match against Rangpur Riders at the Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium on Saturday.  Captain Tamim Iqbal and Liton Kumar Das were charged by on-field umpires Ranmore Martinesz and Mahfuzur Rahman, third umpire Morshed Ali Khan and fourth umpire Mozahiduzzaman, for their "animated show of disapproval" after opposition batsman Ravi Bopara was given not out after a caught behind appeal.

Both players admitted the offence and accepted the sanction proposed by match referee Salim Shahed and, as such, there was no need for a formal hearing.  In addition to their fines, each were given three disciplinary demerit points.  Players who reach four or more demerit points in the BPL tournament are automatically banned for one match.  Under BPL regulations Level Two breaches carry a minimum penalty of a fine of 30 percent of a player's match fees up to a maximum penalty of a suspension of one match and either three or four demerit points.

Sri Lankan camp offer clarity on UDRS appeal.

PTG Editor.

Sunday, 19 November 2017.

PTG 2306-11650.

Sri Lankan team management have moved to clarify just what happened after batsman Dilruwan Perera was given out LBW by umpire Nigel Long during the fourth day’s play of the first Test of the series against India in Kolkata on Sunday.  After Llong raised his finger, Perera started to walk back towards the dressing room before turning around suddenly and opting for a review, some observers claiming he had received a signal to do so from members of his team off the ground.

Rangana Herath, who was batting at the other end when Perera was given out, told journalists at the end of the day's play that it was he who asked Llong if Sri Lanka had any reviews left.  Llong replied in the affirmative, something Herath said "Dilruwan probably heard and opted for the review”.  As result the on-field decision was eventually overturned and Perera went on to add a crucial 43 runs with Herath for the eighth Sri Lankan wicket.  Perera said: "I didn't see anyone signaling from the dressing room as I was looking at the umpire”.

Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) issued a statement at the end of the day's play which in part read: “[SLC] wishes to clarify the ambiguity surrounding the [review] appeal of Dilruwan Perera during play earlier this afternoon.  Contrary to the assumptions made, there was no 'message from the dressing room' involved in the requested review”.  The statement then went on confirm Herath and Perera’s version of events.

SLC also said: "We wish to place on record that every single Sri Lankan player and official is not only strongly respectful and bounden to uphold the rules and regulations of the International Cricket Council, but plays their game of cricket under the ethics and principles of true sportsmanship and the Spirit of Cricket”.

It was another busy day of reviews for Llong and his on-field colleague Joel Wilson who for the second day running took the place an an ill Richard Kettleborough.  After eight referrals to the technology between them during Saturday’s play, four to each umpire (PTG 2305-11645, 19 November 2017), Sunday’s play saw another six, five to Llong and one to Wilson.  Four of Llong’s five were struck down, the only one reversal being Perera’s LBW, while Wilson’s solitary review was also struck down.

19 attending ACC Level 2 course in Lahore.

PTG Editor.

Sunday, 19 November 2017.

PTG 2306-11651.

 

Nineteen match officials from thirteen Asian countries are currently undertaking a four-day Level 2 Umpiring Course at the Pakistan Cricket Board’s National Cricket Academy in Lahore, a meeting that has been organised by the Asian Cricket Council (ACC).  Those attending come from Afghanistan, Bahrain, Bhutan, Hong Kong, Iran, Kuwait, Malaysia, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Saudi Arabia, Singapore and Thailand.

The course is being conducted by Pakistanis Ahsan Raza, Saleem Badar, and Mehboob Shah, plus Ruchira Palliyaguruge from Sri Lanka.  The PCB says attendees "will undergo lectures on [recent] law changes, communication skills, ground conditions, weather, and light, plus teamwork activities”.  They will also take part in an outdoor session "where positioning and stance of the umpires will be demonstrated by the course tutors”.

Batsman goes berserk in 50 over game and scores 490.

PTG Editor.

Sunday, 19 November 2017.

PTG 2306-11652.

A batsman in South Africa scored an astonishing 490 runs off just 151 balls in a 50-over club match on Saturday.  Wicketkeeper-batsman Shane Dadswell, 20, hit 57 sixes and 27 fours en route to amassing the mammoth total while playing for North-West University against Potch Dorp XI. The highest score in List A cricket came from former England batsman Ali Brown, who managed a score of 268 runs for Surrey in a county match against Glamorgan in 2002, while the highest score in a One Day International was Rohit Sharma's 264 for India against Sri Lanka three years ago.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 2,307

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

 

• NZC 'transforms’ womens’ game after damning 2016 report [PTG 2307-11653]. 

• English, Aussie match officials named for NZ-Windies Tests [PTG 2307-11654]. 

• Fourth Plunket Shield player sanctioned for on-field action [PTG 2307-11655]. 

• Wilson on-field for third day in Kolkata Test [PTG 2307-11656]. 

• Back to the future for CA U-19 series umpires [PTG 2307-11657]. 

• All-male umpiring panel for Asia WWT20C Qualifier [PTG 2307-11658]. 

• Batsman again withdrawn following concussion concerns [PTG 2307-11659].  

NZC 'transforms’ womens’ game after damning 2016 report.

Radio New Zealand.

Tuesday, 21 November 2017.

PTG 2307-11653.

In November last year New Zealand Cricket (NZC) released the 'Women and Cricket' report by management consultant Sarah Beaman, herself a former player, which castigated the sport's administration (PTG 1972-9935, 9 November 2016).  A year on from that damning independent report on the state of women's cricket in the country, Beaman believes the sport has undergone a transformation.  

The report found over 90 percent of cricket clubs didn't have female only teams, while over 60 per cent of clubs didn't offer cricket for girls at all.  At the time Beaman said the top priority should be to bring more women into governance positions and increase female presence in coaching and umpiring.

According the her though "Cricket has responded incredibly well [over the past year for] they've been going great guns. They've shifted from eleven females in governance at national level to 35. So 35 women are now involved at board level, that's a significant shift in a year to 18 month period.  They've also changed the structure of how high performance is delivered.  Now all [men and women players] are now under one high performance structure which is quite a shift because the [women] were out to one side previously [and they now have] access to the same sort of resources [as the men]”.

Beaman said there has also been a 12 percent increase in female participation in the sport, mostly in the junior and youth areas of the game, a result she admits has surprised her over the past year.  "I didn't expect that sort of shift to be honest and I thought that it would be a lot harder”, although she concedes some associations have not adapted as well.

Beaman said last year's report was "a wake up call" for the sport.  "I was pretty clear up front when I was asked to do the work, that I was interested if it was a piece of work that was going to sit on the shelf and I was assured from by the Board that this was being done to make change”.  Other sports will hopefully take notice of the change cricket has been through, said Beaman.  "I certainly hope that rugby will sit up and take a bit of notice because they are a similar traditional male sport”.

"What we found with the report was that there was an awareness and willingness to make change but just a lack of knowledge, and asking 'how do we find these women, where are they and how do we attract them?’  So a lot of the things have been providing resources and support around how to should tap women for roles and how to change the wording in advertising roles to actually make it attractive to women and not unconsciously making it so that it appeals to males only...and those are tools that can be used by an sport really”.

English, Aussie match officials named for NZ-Windies Tests.

PTG Editor

Tuesday, 21 November 2017.

PTG 2307-11654.

While his son is playing for England in the Ashes series on the western side of the Tasman Sea, match referee Chris Broad will be overseeing the two Test series between New Zealand and the West Indies on the eastern side. Broad, who will be working as a Test referee for the 89th and 90th time, will be working with umpires Ian Gould, Bruce Oxenford and Rod Tucker, and as yet unnamed NZ members of the International Cricket Council’s second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP) during the two games.

Tucker is to stand in both matches, the first in Wellington starting on Friday week with Gould, and the second a week later in Hamilton with Oxenford, the latter pair working as the television umpire when not on-field.  Gould’s Test record will stand at 64 on-field and 21 as the television umpire (64/21) by series end, Tucker 57/21 and Oxenford 46/20.  NZ IUP members Shaun Haig, Chris Brown and Wayne Knights have previously worked as fourth umpires in four, two and one Test respectively.

Fourth Plunket Shield player sanctioned for on-field action.

PTG Editor

Tuesday, 21 November 2017.

PTG 2307-11655.

New Zealand Test opener Tom Latham has been fined $NZ200 ($A180, £UK103) for showing dissent and swearing loudly after being dismissed whilst playing for Canterbury in a Plunket Shield first class game at the Basin Reserve last Thursday.  Latham was cited by umpires ‘Billy' Bowden and Garth Stirrat for his actions after Stirrat gave him out caught behind, the batsman making it clear he was unimpressed with the decision.  

Stirrat, who was standing in his second first class game (PTG 2076-10513, 15 March 2017), replaced South African exchange umpire Siphelele Gasa whose visit was curtailed before it began for personal reasons.

Latham’s is the fourth disciplinary case in the twelve Plunket games played so far this austral summer.  Late last month his NZ team mate Neil Wagner was fined $NZ560 ($A505, £UK295) for  "conduct that is either contrary to the spirit of the game, or brings the game into disrepute” whilst playing for Otago in another Plunket fixture, his offence being that he dislodged the bails at the bowler’s end with his bat after being dismissed in Otago’s first innings.  

Wagner’s team mate Hamish Rutherford received “a written sanction” in  the same match for his actions, while another match saw Auckland fast bowler Lockie Ferguson fined $NZ100 ($A90, £UK52.80) for "shouting an obscene word which was clearly audible outside the playing area” (PTG 2297-11608, 6 November 2017).

Wilson on-field for third day in Kolkata Test.

PTG Editor

Tuesday, 21 November 2017.

PTG 2307-11656.

The first Test of the India-Sri Lanka series ended in Kolkata on Monday with West Indian umpire Joel Wilson on-field with Englishman Nigel Llong for the third-straight day after Llong’s countryman Richard Kettleborough had to withdraw from the game after day two because of a reported throat infection (PTG 2306-11650, 20 November 2017).  

The India-Sri Lanka game, which was impacted on days one and two by the weather, saw a total of 21 requests for reviews from the teams, thirteen by Sri Lanka and eight by India. Llong, who was standing in his 200th first class game, had a total of thirteen review requests made regarding his decisions, three being up held, eight struck down and two ‘umpire’s call’, while Wilson had eight, four struck down, three up held and one ‘umpire’s call’.  

Past International Cricket Council policy means Wilson will be credited with the Test on his match record (PTG 871-4255, 11 December 2011).  He will be on-field during the final two Tests of the India-Sri Lanka series (PTG 2297-11607, 6 November 2017), and then in the final match of the Ashes series in  Sydney early in the New Year (PTG 2301-11626, 13 November 2017), games that should take his Test tally to nine since his debut at that level three Julys ago. 

Back to the future for CA U-19 series umpires.

PTG Editor.

Tuesday, 21 November 2017.

PTG 2307-11657.

Eight of the ten umpires who stood in last year’s Cricket Australia (CA) Under-19 series, a key tournament in CA’s umpire development pathway, have again been selected to stand in this year’s two-week long event which is to be held in Hobart and Launceston in early December.  Those eight, Victorians Daryl Brigham and Steven Brne, West Australians James Hewitt and Trent Steenholdt, NSW’s Troy Penman and Claire Polosak, and the pair who stood in last year’s U-19 final, Darren Close of Tasmania and David Taylor from Queensland, will be joined by two others from NSW: 2015 participant Anthony Hobson and first-timer Glen Stubbings.

Close, Taylor and Polosak are members of CA’s second-tier Development Panel (DP), the former having stood at first class level in the 1980s, while the latter two plus Hobson have been awarded Australian Institute of Sport officiating scholarships in recent years.  Apart from those three DP members, whose three other panel colleagues all made their first class debuts in the last week (PTG 2295-11601, 3 November 2017), the other seven U-19 appointees are currently members of their respective state umpire panels (PTG 2262-11450, 29 September 2017).  

For the second year running South Australia, which has produced three Test umpires so far this century, more than any other Australian state, will have no one at the event.

All except Stubbings will be familiar with the general arrangements that will apply for the Under-19 series, except for the fact the event will include day-night games for the first time (PTG 2247-11379, 13 September 2017).  

It will be Taylor and Hewitt’s fourth-straight U-19 series, Brne his third in four years, Close, Brigham, Penman, Polosak and Steenbolt their second in a row, and Hobson his second in three years.  All except Polosak have taken part in a CA Under-17 series since mid-decade, Penman and Stubbings standing in the final of last year's event (PTG 1940-9759, 7 October 2016), while Brigham and Steenholdt did so the year before that (PTG 1660-8128, 10 October 2015).

In the lead up to the U-19 series, Sydney-based Penman has been appointed by CA to three state second XI matches, one each in Canberra, Perth and Sydney, Taylor has been allocate two such games, one in Perth and the other on the Gold Coast, while Close was flown to Melbourne for a single game there.  Brigham, Brne, Hewitt and Steenboldt were each chosen for one second XI game each in their respective home cities (PTG 2290-11581, 28 October 2017).  Around the same time Polosak has been involved in womens’ One Day International Ashes matches played late last month (PTG 2275-11511, 14 October 2017).

CA has also appointed five of its fifteen match referees to oversee games and provide assessment on the ten umpires: Steve Davis and Peter Marshall from its top National Referees Panel and Damien Herft, David Johnstone and Jamie Mitchell from  the second-tier Supplementary Referees Panel.  Mitchell took part in the 2012, 2013 and 2015 U-19 series as an umpire.

All-male umpiring panel for Asia WWT20C Qualifier.

PTG Editor

Tuesday, 21 November 2017.

PTG 2307-11658.

Six umpires, all male, are standing in matches in the Women’s World Twenty20 Championship (WWT20C) Asia Qualifier series being played in Thailand this week.  In addition to the hosts, teams from China, Hong Kong, Nepal, Malaysia and the United Arab Emirates are playing to decide the final two places in next November's WWT20C series in the West Indies.

Three members of the International Cricket Council’s third-tier umpire Development Panel are standing in Bangkok this week: Clive Howard from Hong Kong, Sarika Prasad of Singapore and Kalidas Viswanadan from Malaysia.  The other three umpires are: Thailand’s Ashwani Kumar Rana, Durga Prasad from India and Batumalai Ramani from Malaysia.  

Prasad, 58, played first class cricket for Railways in the 1980s and records indicate he was a match referee in two Ranji Trophy first class games, one in 1998 and another in 2003.   

Batsman again withdrawn following concussion concerns.

PTG Editor

Tuesday, 21 November 2017.

PTG 2307-11659.

Victorian teenager Will Pucovski has again suffered concussion during a match and has been ruled out of taking any further part in the on-going state second XI match against Tasmania in Melbourne.  Pucovski was struck on the helmet while batting on the first day of the match on Monday by fast bowler Nick Buchanan after facing 20 balls. He was able to walk to the boundary where he was assesed by the paramedics at the ground, after which he was withdrawn from the match.

Cricket Victoria doctor Trefor James said: "Will Pucovski has been ruled out of the remainder of the match and we will continue to monitor him over the coming days, and we can then determine a return to play plan for him”.  He was replaced in the Victorian XI by Essendon Cricket Club batsman Aaron Ayre

Pucovski's latest blow follows an unfortunate history of heavy head knocks for he was also struck on the helmet while batting in Victoria's Cricket Australia one day match against Queensland in Sydney early last month.  He returned to the crease later in that innings after passing initial concussion testing but faced only three balls before he was bowled.  Further monitoring and secondary testing showed he displayed symptoms and he was diagnosed with concussion. 

The nineteen-year-old received multiple head knocks during his teenage years and was again concussed in February when he was struck in the head while fielding during his Sheffield Shield first class debut (PTG 2059-10424, 25 February 2017).  He took no further part in that  match and was unable to play for the remainder of the 2016-17 season as doctors advised that he undertake minimal physical activity.

Further blows followed on his return to cricket. He was hit while batting at training, struck by an errant ball hit from an adjoining practice net, and once even cracked his head on a door at his Hampton home.  He has attributed his repeated episodes of significant head trauma as "dumb luck, to a large extent" but has added that medical experts have told him he carries a certain predisposition to concussive injury because of his unfortunate history.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 2,308

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

 

• Yet more BPL players behaving badly [PTG 2308-11660]. 

• Seven women to stand in CA U-18 female series [PTG 2308-11661]. 

• Dublin’s Malahide to host first Irish mens’ Test [PTG 2308-11662]. 

• Swarm of bees stop play in Rawalpindi [PTG 2308-11663]. 

Yet more BPL players behaving badly.

PTG Editor.

Tuesday, 21 November 2017.

PTG 2308-11660.

Another Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) player, this time Dhaka Dynamites skipper Shakib Al Hasan has been fined half of his match fee and given three disciplinary demerit points Tuesday as a result of an altercation with Sri Lankan umpire Ranmore Martinesz. A local news report said that “it seems on-field tantrums have become a regular affair this BPL season".

During Monday's match against Comilla Victorians, Shakib reacted with anger after Martinesz turned down an LBW appeal, directing what appeared to be very harsh words at the umpire before kicking the ground in frustration.  Shakib later admitted the offence and accepted the penalties proposed by match referee Samiur Rahman and therefore there was no need for a formal hearing.

In the same game, Comilla Victorians' fast bowler Hasan Ali was fined a quarter of his match fee for pointing the way to the dressing room after dismissing Dhaka Dynamites’ batsman Mosaddek Hossain, an act that led to a heated moment between the two players. Hasan was also handed two demerit points.

On the weekend in another match, Comilla skipper Tamim Iqbal, his teammate Liton Das and Sylhet Sixers’ Sabbir Rahman were all fined half of their match fees and given three demerit points for a similar altercation with Martinesz (PTG 2306-11649, 20 November 2017).

Seven women to stand in CA U-18 female series.

PTG Editor.

Tuesday, 21 November 2017.

PTG 2308-11661.

Its not quite an all-women umpiring panel for this year’s Cricket Australia (CA) Under-18 Female National Championship series in Canberra later this month as previously reported, but almost.  Of the eight umpires named seven are women: Ashlee Kovalevs of Western Australia, Margaret Marshall of the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), Lisa McCabe from country Victoria, South Australians Eloise Sheridan and Mary Waldron, Kirsten Funston and Annette McKenzie from New South Wales, plus the lone male, Steve Dionysius of Queensland.  

For Kovalevs it will be her fourth-straight female U-18 championship series, Marshall her second, and the first for Sheridan, Funston, McCabe, McKenzie, Waldron and Dionysius.  CA is yet to indicate who will be the scorers for the 32-match series.

Kovalevs made her debut at mens’ Premier League (PL) first grade level late last year (PTG 2001-10114, 10 December 2016 ), in a CA Womens National Cricket League (WNCL) 50 over match a month before that, and in Womens’ Big Bash League Twenty20 fixtures last January.  Soon after that she was awarded an Australian Sports Commission National Officiating Scholarship (PTG 2042-10347, 8 February 2017).

Marshall has over the last two seasons has been standing in the ACT’s fourth, third and second grade mens’ PL fixtures, while Sheridan made her PL mens’ first grade debut in Adelaide last month not long into her second season as a PL umpire (PTG 2290-11578, 28 October 2017).

McCabe is from Bendigo in country Victoria (PTG 2303-11634, 16 November 2017), and what records are available suggest Funston and McKenzie started umpiring in the Sydney Cricket Association (SCA) during the current austral summer.  They first featured in the second grade of the SCA’s Womens’ Competition over its first half a dozen rounds, where they stood together for the first time last Sunday in a 50 over match.  They have also so far been appointed to two games in the fifth grade of the SCA's mens’ PL series.  

Dionysius, like Kovalevs, a member of his local State Umpires Panel (PTG 2262-11450, 29 September 2017), has umpired regularly in Queensland’s PL competition for a number of years, and two months ago was selected by CA for its 2017 mens’ Under-17 national championship series (PTG 2267-11475, 5 October 2017).

CA second-tier match referee Neil Findlay will oversee the series.  A former PL first grade umpire in Sydney and country New South Wales, he has stood in WNCL games in the past.  CA records available indicate the forthcoming U-18 female series is his first formal appointment as a match referee.

Dublin’s Malahide to host first Irish mens’ Test.

BBC News.

Tuesday, 21 November 2017.

PTG 2308-11662.

Malahide outside Dublin has been chosen ass the venue for Ireland's first men's Test match when they face Pakistan next May (PTG 2291-11582, 28 October 2017).  Cricket Ireland chief executive Warren Deutrom said on Tuesday: "We are delighted that Malahide has agreed to host this historic game against Pakistan.  In its short history of hosting our matches, the club has already given us some wonderful memories and we trust that [the Test will be the precursor to] many more". 

Malahide chairman Ciaran Keohane said that the north Dublin club are "looking forward" to welcoming both teams, saying: "This is a great showcase not only for Irish cricket, but for Malahide and the wider Fingal area”.  Next May’s game won’t be Ireland’s first Test though for their womens’ side have played one Test, also against Pakistan, in Dublin in July 2000.  That match was played at Dublin University’s ground.

Swarm of bees stop play in Rawalpindi.

PTG Editor.

Tuesday, 21 November 2017.

PTG 2308-11663.

A swarm of bees created panic during a Pakistan Cricket Board National Twenty20 Cup series match between the Lahore Whites and Peshawar in Rawalpindi on Tuesday.  The swarm stropped the game for 15 minutes and saw players from both the teams and umpires Aaley Haider and Khalid Mahmood hit the ground.  The bees are reported to have been dispersed after officials "sprayed repellant around the ground”. 

Its not the first time in recent years that play has been interrupted by bees.  Last February a One Day International between South Africa and Sri Lanka in Johannesburg was halted for more than 10 minutes after "thousands of bees" swarmed on to the field (PTG 2039-10331, 5 February 2017).

They also did so in a Sri Lanka-Bangladesh One Day International in Hambantota in 2013 (PTG 1081-5260, 26 March 2013).  It happened twice in 2014, a one-day Berkshire Cricket League fixture being abandoned because of an invasion of flying ants (PTG 1404-6787, 1 August 2014), while a game on the North Island of New Zealand was suspended for five minutes when a “massive swarm of bees” arrived (PTG 1478-7150, 9 December 2014), as well as in an international played in Harare last year (PTG 1884-9444, 24 July 2016).  Locusts too have stopped play in the past (PTG 502-2600, 6 October 2009).

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 2,309

Thursday, 23 November 2017

 

• Six-week suspension for match ending racial taunt [PTG 2309-11664]. 

• CWI fines three for match offences [PTG 2309-11665]. 

• Car company renewals CA sponsorship, price unknown [PTG 2309-11666]. 

• Slow over-rate fines for BPL captain, team mates [PTG 2309-11667]. 

Six-week suspension for match ending racial taunt.

Joel Maxwell.

Fairfax New Zealand.

Wednesday, 22 November 2017.

PTG 2309-11664.

The player who sparked a match-ending walk-off in a club cricket match in New Zealand on Sunday has been stood down for six weeks and must provide a written apology to the player he racially abused.  All members of the Kāpiti Old Boys Cricket Club’s (KOBCC) senior team, which is based in Paraparaumu north of Wellington, left the field of play after a Levin Old Boys Cricket Club (LOBCC) batsmen abused the fielder and used a racial slur for people of Indian heritage (PTG 2306-11647, 20 November 2017).

The Horowhenua Kāpiti Cricket Association (HKCA) announced the stand down, agreed to by the clubs, on Wednesday, saying the player who made the comments was "extremely disappointed" with himself.  In an open letter to players, HKCA chief executive David O'Brien said the association was proud of how the clubs and players worked through the "unfortunate” incident which he believes was an isolated one.

LOBCC secretary Dan Parker said after discussion the six-week stand down, several weeks longer than one initially imposed by his club, was seen as more appropriate.  "It's been dealt with. We're moving on ... all parties involved are happy with what's been done and that's all we have to say on the matter”.

In a written statement for the club, KOBCC president Hayden Wright said player welfare had been the primary concern.  "People play cricket for the enjoyment. Unfortunately [the incident] negatively affected everyone involved. All parties must forgive and move forward”.  He said Levin Old Boys should be commended for their handling of the incident.   "Kāpiti Old Boys Cricket Club is proud of our players for their stance. Thanks to everyone who has provided and offered their support”.  The player who was abused did not wish to make any comment on the matter. 

CWI fines three for disciplinary offences.

PTG Editor.

Wednesday, 22 November 2017.

PTG 2309-11665.

Leeward Islands pair of Nkrumah Bonner and Terence Warde and Barbados batsman Jonathan Carter have all been fined for disciplinary breaches during the fourth round of matches in Cricket West Indies’ (CWI) domestic first class competition which ended on Sunday.  As a result of their actions, both Bonner and Carter each lost half their match fees and Rawlines ten per cent, all three admitting to their guilt and accepting the sanctions proposed.

Bonner and Warde were reported by on-field umpires Carl Tuckett and Leslie Reifer, Jr, along with reserve umpire Bernard Joseph, for Level One breaches of the Code of Conduct during the match between the Leewards and Jamaica at Warner Park in Basseterre, St. Kitts.  Bonner’s offence, which involved him showing his bat after being adjudged LBW in his side's first innings. was upgraded to Level Two as it was his second breach within a year (PTG 2057-10417, 23 February 2017), and as a result match referee Stewart Rawlins imposed the 50 per cent fine.  Rawlins’s offence also involved showing his bat on being given out LBW.

Carter was reported by on-field umpires Deighton Butler and Verdayne Smith, along with reserve umpire Roger Davis, for the Level One breach of "using language that was obscene, offensive or insulting” towards Windward Island off-spinner Shane Shillingford when leaving the field following his dismissal in his side’s second innings.

Car company renewals CA sponsorship, price unknown.

PTG Editor.

Wednesday, 22 November 2017.

PTG 2309-11666.

Cricket Australia (CA) has renewed its 2012 “partnership” with car manufacturer ‘Toyota', a move CA says will continue the company’s "extensive support of the Australian Cricket pathway – from club cricket all the way up to the men’s international cricket team – until 2021”.  The arrangement will see a continuation of Toyota’s car raffle, a program CA says has already raised over $A1.7m (£UK970,530) for local cricket clubs since its introduction in 2012, plus "on-going support of each of the state cricket associations and the Big Bash League".

 

As part of the new deal for a sum of money for CA that, as is normal, has not been disclosed, ‘Toyota' will take on a new Naming Rights Partnership of the Australian Country Cricket Championships, an annual tournament that involves players from regional areas around Australia as well as from the International Cricket Council’s East Asia Pacific region.  Vehicles will also be provided to Northern Territory Cricket and cricket administrators in the Australian Capital Territory "to assist cricket development officers grow cricket participation into regional areas".

 

CA General Manager, Broadcasting, Digital Media and Commercial, Ben Amarfio welcomed the renewed partnership saying: “We are very proud of the partnership we have formed with ‘Toyota' over the past five years and we are excited that its partnership with [CA] is set to continue for at least the next four years”.  Amarfio said CA “is grateful” for the company’s support and that "we are looking forward to working with them to deliver their objectives of assisting cricket at a community level” and he said the car company’s support "is having a very real impact with our grassroots clubs and teams”.  There was no mention of grass roots match officials in the CA media release.

Slow over-rate fines for BPL captain, team mates.

Dhaka Tribune Report.

Thursday, 23 November 2017.

PTG 2309-11667.

The Bangladesh Premier League’s (BPL) Rangpur Riders captain Mashrafe bin Mortaza has been fined 40 per cent of his match fee and his teammates 20 per cent for a slow over rate during their Twenty20 match against Dhaka Dynamites at Mirpur Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium in Dhaka Tuesday. Rangpur were found by match referee Samiur Rahman to have been two overs behind the required rate after allowances were taken into account. 

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 2,310

Friday, 24 November 2017

 

• Where are the female umpires in senior NZ men's cricket? [PTG 2310-11668]. 

• 750th match for long-serving Tasmanian umpire [PTG 2310-11669]. 

Where are the female umpires in senior NZ men's cricket?

Nicholas Boyack.

Fairfax New Zealand.

Thursday, 23 November 2017.

PTG 2310-11668.

Kathy Cross has been at the highest levels of New Zealand umpiring since 2003, standing at List A level five times in the period from 2004-07, and in two mens’ Twenty20 fixtures, the latest two years ago (PTG 1656-8100, 5 October 2015).  However, while she is good enough to umpire women all over the world, and is a member of the International Cricket Council’s third-tier umpiring panel, she is not good enough to umpire men's first-class cricket in her home country.

It is a situation her sons, Cameron and Stephen, who are both Hutt Valley based policemen and senior cricketers, want addressed.  However, New Zealand Cricket (NZC) insists it selects all its umpires on merit and notes that Cross, 60, has had the opportunity to umpire extensively overseas.  That includes four women's World Cups and 50 Womens’ One Day Internationals (PTG 2202-11148, 15 July 2017).

Cameron Cross, is immensely proud of his mother's achievements, but is puzzled as to why she is consistently overlooked in her home country.  He described it as the "elephant in the room" that no one wanted to talk about.  With the new New Zealand government committed to equality, and rugby and football looking at wider issues regarding women, Cameron wants NZC to take a look at his mother's situation.  "The government is spreading the message that there should be more women at the top and why should cricket be any different?"

Cameron believes his mother was clearly good enough to umpire first-class cricket and he wanted answers from NZC.  His mother declined to be interviewed, but he said she was frustrated with the current situation.  "Mum being mum she just shrugs it off, but I know she needs some sort of  recognition”.

NZC operations manager Catherine Campbell said selection for men's first-class games was based solely on "merit" and NZC rated Cross very highly.  She had been a "trailblazer" for women in the sport, but when it  came to choosing umpires for first-class cricket the only issue was who was best for the job.  Her record over a long time clearly showed she was a good umpire, Campbell said.

NZC recently reviewed women in the sport and it  was committed to making sure women, including match officials,  could participate at every level (PTG 2307-11653, 21 November 2017).  Campbell agreed that Cross could be seen as a positive role model if she had the opportunity to umpire men.  She was already mentoring other women umpires and Campbell hoped that what she had achieved already, inspired more women to try umpiring.

Neither Cameron or Stephen accept the merit argument.  Stephen said that by not appointing his mother to any games, she had been denied the opportunity to be judged on merit.  "What does 'merit' mean. She has umpired at women's World Cups throughout the world and got nothing but good appraisals”.  Campbell said she would be happy to talk to both men and reiterated that all umpire appointments were merit based.

NZC Life Member and former president of the International Women's Cricket Council Mary Brito has watched Cross umpire overseas and followed her career closely.  She believes Cross was the ideal person for NZC to show it was serious about equality and she should be given the opportunity to umpire men.

Wellington Cricket Umpires Association chair Jeremy Busby, himself a former first class umpire, said that locally Cross was very well thought of.  She had done a good job over many years umpiring men's club cricket and his "personal view" was that she was good enough to umpire at first-class level.  Stephen Cross said the issue of equality in sport was important and although his mother was a private person, he welcomed publicity about the matter.

Only two women, one of whom was a New Zealander, have ever stood in a first class game.  Cross’ countrywomen Patricia Carrick was on-field in 15 domestic first class games in the period from 1987-90, and Jacqueline Williams of the West Indies in three over the last two years (PTG 1711-8476, 13 December 2015), the latest being last month.  Carrick stood in one women’s Test in the time before such games came under the auspices of the International Cricket Council, before that playing in seven from 1968-77.

750th match for long-serving Tasmanian umpire.   

PTG Editor.

Friday, 24 November 2017.

PTG 2310-11669.

Tasmanian umpire Brian Pollard is to stand in his 750th match as a member of the Tasmanian Cricket Umpires and Scorers Association (TCUSA) this weekend in what is his 32nd straight season standing in Cricket Tasmania's (CT) Premier League competitions. Pollard, 76, who stood in his first Tasmanian Cricket Association game way back in 1985, continues to be rated highly by the selectors being regularly selected for second grade games.

His playing career involved many years with the Montagu Bay Cricket Club in Hobart as a batsman, and in the 1960s he and his batting partner established a record opening partnership of 208 in a suburban competition, a feat that still stands in the record books.  As the club's captain he led his side to several premierships and spent ten years on the committee there, his overall service being rewarded with Life Membership.  

Pollard took up umpiring in 1982 with the suburban association and stood in its matches for three seasons before moving over to CT's turf-based leagues.  Of his 750 Premier League matches, 240 have been at first grade level, equal to another long-serving umpire Don Heapy who is also still at the crease and last month chalked up his 700th game with the association (PTG 2281-11541, 19 October 2017).  The TCUSA award for the umpire judged as the best umpire in CT’s first grade competition is called the Heapy-Pollard Medal.

Pollard's higher-level service includes a "two hour stint" in a Sheffield Shield match when one of the on-field umpires fell ill.  He served for many years on the TCUSA management committee, his work in that role and as an umpire being acknowledged by the award of a TCUSA Life Membership in 2008.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 2,311

Sunday, 26 November 2017

 

• Sri Lankan fined heavily for 'changing the condition of ball’ [PTG 2311-11670]. 

• Second Papua New Guinean makes ODI debut [PTG 2311-11671]. 

• Protest action leads to postponement of PCB T20 semis [PTG 2311-11671]. 

Sri Lankan fined heavily for 'changing the condition of ball’.

PTG Editor.

Sunday, 26 November 2017.

PTG 2311-11670.

Sri Lanka all-rounder Dasun Shanaka has been fined three quarters of his match fee and given three disciplinary demerit points after being caught on television for what the International Cricket Council described as "picking up an area on the ball next to the seam several times” during the second Test against India in Nagpur.

The incident took place on Saturday, during the 50th over of India's innings during the second day of the match on Saturday. Umpires Joel Wilson, Richard Kettleborough, Nigel Llong and Chettihody Shamshuddin brought it to the attention of match referee David Boon after the end of that day's play. Boon said via an ICC media release:  "These are early days in Dasun's career and I am sure this sanction will ensure he is more careful when maintaining the condition of the ball in the future”.

Shanaka did not contest the charges laid against him by match officials.  His demerit points record now stands at three and should he be handed one more within a 24-month period, he will be suspended for one Test or two One Day Internationals or two Twenty20 Internationals, whichever comes first.

Second Papua New Guinean makes ODI debut.

PTG Editor.

Sunday, 26 November 2017.

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Papua New Guineau (PNG) umpire All Kapa made his One Day International in Dubai on Friday in the match between his national side and Scotland, a month after his countryman Lakani Oala debuted in the reverse fixture played in Port Moresby.  Kapa, who debut at first class level last month, is to stand in a second such game starting on Wednesday in an Intercontinental Cup (IC) match between the United Arab Emirates and Afghanistan in Abu Dhabi.  Oala made his first class debut in an IC game between PNG and Namibia in October last year.

Protest action leads to postponement of PCB T20 semis.

Umar Farooq.

Cricinfo,

Saturday, 25 November 2017.

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Both semi-final games in Pakistan’s National T20 Cup in Rawalpindi were postponed on Saturday because of a police crackdown on protesters staging a sit-in at a major city road interchange.  With the situation deteriorating with each passing hour, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) decided to put off the two fixtures for at least a day, the teams being confined to their hotels as roads leading to the Rawalpindi stadium had been blocked.

The stadium is situated in a central location in Rawalpindi, Islamabad's twin city, and the impact of the police operation disrupted life in both cities. As many as 8,500 police and paramilitary troops in riot gear were taking part in the operation by encircling the area. Protesters resisted fiercely, resulting in major disruptions, and all roads leading from Islamabad to Lahore and Karachi were closed off.

The National T20 Cup has faced several hindrances this year. Earlier, it had clashed with the World XI's trip. When it was rescheduled, its dates clashed with the Bangladesh Premier League and the now-postponed Global T20 League in South Africa. Even then, long lasting smog in Faisalabad and Multan meant it had to eventually be relocated to Rawalpindi.

The scheduling of the National T20 Cup created uncertainty on other fronts as well. In August, the board revoked the No-Objection Certificates of 13 players participating in the Caribbean Premier League and the English domestic season, asking them to return home and fulfill national and domestic commitments. However, a few days later, PCB chairman Najam Sethi said the National T20 Cup had been postponed and the players could return to their franchise sides and counties after undergoing fitness tests.



 

End of November 2017 news file.