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Cricket News & Views

Interpol offering reality check

INTERPOL, the international policing organisation, have offered to help the ICC by taking steps to prevent organised crime from infiltrating cricket. This follows hard on the warning by the ECB this week that the domestic game in England remains vulnerable to corruption.

A cold draught has been blowing into the game since the Pakistan corruption case at Southwark Crown Court in November, when one half-expected giant screens to flash up "guilty" like a third umpire's verdict. Reality is very much upon us.

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Pakistan players Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir were sent to prison, guilty of cheating and accepting corrupt payments. Their fixer Mazhar Majeed, the classic dodgy dealer, was given the longest sentence, two years eight months, for conspiring to cheat and for making corrupt payments. This was the first time that corruption had led to more than mere suspensions by the International Cricket Council. The events in London involved not just a trudge back to the pavilion but barristers... police... prison officers... cold walls...

And now the Interpol secretary general Ronald K Noble, on a two-day tour of India, has offered an arrangement to the ICC president Sharad Pawar and Indian Cricket Board vice-president Rajiv Shukla that would give them access to Interpol intelligence, as with football. FIFA agreed a 10-year deal for almost £13,000 in May to keep tabs on global betting and to monitor the activities of suspected match-fixing syndicates. With support from FIFA, an Interpol centre in Singapore is being planned to promote 'integrity in sports'.

Noble described the meeting with Pawar and Shukla as "cordial" and "positive" and he added: "We would like to have a prevention programme put in place, when there are incidences of young players, agents and officials taking money to fix matches. We know these young players are easy targets."

One should remember that Hansie Cronje, a self-confessed crook, was never prosecuted by the South African law enforcers for spot-fixing. The issue was funked and never progressed beyond the King Commission inquiry. The Pakistan fixing case in London became a landmark when the sanction was prison.

Bearing in mind that the Southward courtroom must have witnessed many cases of violent crime, lawyers had to talk hard to show that deliberately overstepping a white line for betting purposes in 2010 was a serious offence that produced victims. The prosecution succeeded in arguing that the viewing public, especially, did not deserve to be cheated while players enriched themselves on a separate bookmakers' agenda. But was 'acting' cricket on brief occasions worth prison?

The former England batsman Geoff Boycott reckoned the authorities should lock up these people "and throw away the key". As the fixer had had the gall in court to claim Boycott as his friend -- they met in a hotel lobby once -- one could predict his fury, but it is a safe bet that his suggestion will not reach the statute book.

Mr Justice Cooke spoke of the damage to the "image and integrity" of cricket and the betrayal of followers of the game. He said he would have heavily extended the two-year six-month sentence given to Butt, the captain, as a clear deterrent if the player had not been already banned from cricket for five years.

To me, one of the sourest aspects was the conspiracy that gave Butt power. The position of the incorruptible Shahid Afridi as captain of the Test team became untenable when undermined by a nucleus of players, including a few not on trial, so that the Pakistan Board was hoodwinked into promoting Butt for the series in England last year. The jury heard how Afridi's presence made fixing very difficult and that the gang needed him out of the way. So here was one victim at least. It was not just about a white line.

Watching sport -- events that matter when they do not really matter -- requires suspension of disbelief for enjoyment. A bottle of beer thrown at a television screen by an over-emotional viewer might be the extreme example, but integrity lies at the heart of all sport. In my view athletes caught cheating with performance-enhancing drugs should be jailed just like the cricketers. The athletics and cycling authorities should have called in the police a long time ago. And they still have not. With soft suspensions the only deterrent, the moral aspect is now dreadfully distorted. The thinking has changed. To some athletes -- and to some lawyers, one imagines -- drugs are only no-go if they are officially banned. New dope is fine until the authorities update the list...

Individualistic sports such as tennis and snooker have been long vulnerable to corruption, but the advent of spot-betting on live television -- wagers on small events such as wides or no-balls during play -- has brought cricket into focus, as with football. The key problem for cricket is that there is no regulation of the biggest gambling market, India and the subcontinental region, where betting is illegal. The boom in cricket has produced a multi-billion pound bookmaking industry where no suspicious betting patterns can be detected in the way that protects above-board bookmakers. Heavy wagers on an Amir no-ball at Lord's, for example, would sound alarm bells in a regulated market outside Mumbai or Dubai.

Cricket is a quirky game built on justice while the fielding side gang up against the batsmen. Umpires make judgments, sometimes on appeal, and uphold the Laws. At international level the 'third' umpire waits in his studio, ready with cameras and infra-red detectors to adjudicate at an on-field umpire's request. When camera back-up for run-outs and stumpings began in 1992, red and green lights were used for the verdict. Red meant 'in' at first before being changed to 'out'. Almost inevitably the wrong button was once pressed by mistake, in Karachi in 1994, so that the South Africa batsman Dave Richardson was given out when he should have been in. Here was press-button injustice of the cruellest kind. But at least this was not a Crown Court.

Posted by Charlie Randall
17/12/2011 10:53:37

ICC start Pakistan talk shop

THE Pakistan Task Team, a panel set up under Giles Clarke by the ICC to drag Pakistan cricket out of the mire after spot-fixing allegations, has underlined the zero-tolerance policy towards corruption.

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The panel's main activity has been to help educate players on corruption issues and to make reforms to restore confidence in the administration of the game in Pakistan. The ICC are taking a well-worn path and, while intentions remain good, it is easy to see Clarke's group as another talk shop. In practical terms the cancer of corruption is extremely difficult to stamp out, especially while betting remains illegal in India, with unusual betting patterns impossible to monitor. In the meantime the ICC are having to rely on 'messages'.

The game in Pakistan has been damaged by terrorism and by the corruption allegations against Mohammad Amir and Salman Butt, a captain with some serious explaining to do at the ICC hearing to be heard by Michael Beloff QC in Qatar on October 30-31. Amir and Butt are contesting their suspension by the ICC. The third player under a cloud, Mohammad Asif, decided to withdraw his appeal.

The provisional suspensions were imposed on the players in accordance with the ICC Anti-Corruption Code after they were charged with various offences under the code on September 2. The charges followed revelations by The News of the World newspaper and subsequent investigations by the ICC’s Anti Corruption and Security Unit into ‘spot-fixing’ allegations. Beloff will be considering only the suspensions and not the substantive charges laid against the players.

ECB chairman Clarke was joined in an ICC teleconference by members of his task team, the Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Ijaz Butt and the Board's senior general manager Subhan Ahmed. The discussion, a process that followed a recent ICC board meeting in Dubai, included raising awareness of anti-corruption issues among international players, particularly those from Pakistan, and supporting the country's urgent delivery of anti-corruption policies, processes and education.

The panel supported the Pakistan Board in reviewing its structures and making reforms necessary to restore confidence in the administration of the game in Pakistan, and the enforcing of the ICC's zero-tolerance approach to protect the integrity of international cricket.

The PTT received an update on the agreed measures that the Pakistanis had already started to introduce. ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat said: "We are encouraged by the excellent progress reported and also the willingness of the Pakistan Cricket Board to embrace the ICC recommendations. However, we can never be complacent nor distracted in our determination to tackle corruption.

"Recognising that integrity is fundamental, the Board was unanimous and showed absolutely no compromise in taking steps to ensure the public retains confidence in the game."

Lorgat said all 105 ICC members were advised to immediately consider and undertake the following actions:

>To remind all registered players, support personnel and member board officials about their responsibilities, the ICC's clear stance on corruption, the need to abide by the ICC Anti-Corruption Code and that failure to take these measures could result in severe penalties.

>To review the adequacy of processes and procedures to protect against all threats of corruption (domestic or international) and, where necessary, introduce new measures which would include a domestic anti-corruption code that mirrors the ICC code.

>To review player contracts and introduce relevant clauses to ensure players comply with all relevant anti-corruption rules and regulations.

Lorgat added: "We have issued a broad advisory to every ICC Member about the need to root out corruption from our great sport. This advisory requests all international players and support personnel to sign a once-off declaration before participating in the next FTP match and/or ICC event. Such declaration is intended to serve as an important reminder of the spirit in which the game is meant to be played, the importance of its integrity and their roles and responsibilities in this regard."

The task team meeting reminded the Pakistan Board of its agreement to encourage all its players to come forward and disclose to the Anti-Corruption and Safety Unit any relevant information which will be treated as strictly confidential.

Mr Lorgat said: "Every single player who cares about the game should step forward and help us to eradicate corruption from the game. I can assure that such disclosures will be treated in strict confidence."

Pakistan Task Team: Giles Clarke (England, ICC director), Peter Chingoka (Zimbabwe, ICC director), Haroon Lorgat (ICC chief executive), David Richardson (ICC general manager, cricket), Ranjan Madugalle (Sri Lanka, ICC chief match referee), Mike Brearley (England), Ramiz Raja (Pakistan).

Posted by Charlie Randall
24/10/2010 13:33:03

Pakistan alienation almost complete

THE alienation of Pakistan from world cricket continues -- partly with blame and partly without -- as the relationship with erstwhile friends, England, on and off the field dissolves into hostility. This week's ECB press release said it all.

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Terrorist activity left Pakistan unavoidably without a home base, attracting sympathy and help, but now there is corruption suspicion against three of their players -- with some apparent 'forecast' evidence published in The News of the World newspaper. Then comes the comments by Ijaz Butt, the Pakistan Board chairman, in a blatantly political attempt to tarnish England, and his words have left a sour taste.

The England players already detested playing against Pakistan in this one-day series, and hearing that Butt claimed there were rumours that England threw the match at the Brit Oval might have had them walking out. Andrew Strauss reacted with "surprise, dismay and outrage" at Butt's suggestion.

It was clear from a radio interview, repeated on the BBC, that Butt felt that the allegations against three Pakistan players were no more than insinuation and that he reckoned these individuals should not be suspended without being found guilty. Then he made a vague claim that there was talk among bookmakers that England threw the Oval match. He added that he could not name any bookmaker in the same way that no bookmakers could be identified in the English newspaper allegations. That was his thinking -- unfairness and conspiracy against Pakistan. 

On Monday the ECB circulated the following press release. Nothing like this has been issued probably since the Kerry Packer break-away circuit storm almost 40 years ago. While sympathising, one must pray that the ECB do not invest their hard-earned funds in libel action against an admittedly "wholly irresponsible" Butt. This would be a total waste of time and money. The law action involving Packer certainly was.

ECB press release (Sept 20, 2010):

"For Immediate Use

"ECB and England team to continue NatWest Series against Pakistan

"The ECB and the England team today announced that they were committed to continuing with the current NatWest Series against Pakistan. This decision was unanimously taken by the ECB Board following a meeting between the ECB chairman Giles Clarke, CEO David Collier, ECB managing director of England cricket, Hugh Morris, and the England captain and coach, Andrew Strauss and Andrew Flower, and a subsequent meeting with all of the England team.

"The ECB and the England players completely reject the remarks made by the PCB chairman Ijaz Butt yesterday about the England team's conduct in the third NatWest ODI at The Brit Insurance Oval. Mr Butt’s comments were wholly irresponsible and completely without foundation.

"The ECB expresses its gratitude for the outstanding conduct of the England team this summer and will take all legal and disciplinary action which may result from Mr Butt’s comments.

"The Board and the team, however, are of a view that it remains in the best interests of world cricket, the players and in particular of cricket supporters that the tour should continue and it would set a dangerous precedent to call off a tour based on the misguided and inaccurate remarks made by one individual.

"ECB will continue to offer ICC its full support in taking the strongest possible action against all areas of corruption and is pledged to offering the ACSU its full support at all times.

"Given the current sensitivities surrounding this issue, ECB believes it is imperative that any serious allegations made against another team or player should be presented through the proper channels to the ACSU. Both ECB and Team England view the comments made by Mr Butt as defamatory and not based in fact.

"Hugh Robertson, Minister for Sport and the Olympics, said: "I welcome the decision by England to play the last two games of this tour. It is a pragmatic decision that is in the best interests of world cricket."

"Media Statement issued on behalf of the England Cricket Team

"The England Cricket team has this morning issued a statement in conjunction with the Professional Cricketers Association (PCA), following allegations made yesterday by the chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board.

"The team deplores and rejects unreservedly the suggestion that any England cricketer was involved in manipulating the outcome, or any individual element, of the third NatWest Series ODI at the Brit Insurance Oval between England and Pakistan last week. The players fully understand their responsibilities as representatives of their country, and would not countenance giving less than 100 per cent in any match they play.

"Andrew Strauss, England captain, speaking on behalf of the team, said:

"We would like to express our surprise, dismay and outrage at the comments made by Mr Butt yesterday. We are deeply concerned and disappointed that our integrity as cricketers has been brought into question. We refute these allegations completely and will be working closely with the ECB to explore all legal options open to us.

"Under the circumstances, we have strong misgivings about continuing to play the last two games of the current series and urge the Pakistani team and management to distance themselves from Mr Butt's allegations. We do, however, recognise our responsibilities to the game of cricket, and in particular to the cricket-loving public in this country, and will therefore endeavour to fulfil these fixtures to the best of our ability."

"Angus Porter, chief executive of the PCA, added: "The players appreciate the difficult position the ECB finds itself in, and is fully supportive of the actions taken by the Board, along with the ICC, to ensure all allegations of wrong-doing are properly investigated and acted upon. We will continue to cooperate closely with the ECB, with the aim of ensuring that the work to root out corruption is not derailed by mischievous attempts to detract attention from the real issues."

This is an amazing document from an organisation that prefers to understate and rarely deals in feelings. After the distasteful events that had Kevin Pietersen (who he?) getting Peter Moores sacked as coach early in the year, it has been a rough 2010 off the field for the ECB. Just as well the boys have won plenty of cricket games.

Posted by Charlie Randall
21/09/2010 11:02:39

Aussies return to UK for Pakistan

PAKISTAN are to play Tests and one-day games against Australia and England in England next year, a welcome chance for the public to see more top-notch international cricket.

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The ICC promised a big effort to help the new world twenty20 champions maintain a revenue stream after all opportunities to host international cricket in Pakistan were ruled out by the terrorist attack on the Sri Lanka team bus in Lahore earlier this year.

The ECB announced today that they had reached agreement with the Pakistan Cricket Board to hold two neutral Test matches and two 20-over internationals between Pakistan and Australia next year in July. ECB chairman Giles Clarke said: "The Pakistan team performed outstandingly well in the World T20 tournament in England and were worthy world champions. The passion of the support for their team in England demonstrated why this country is an ideal venue for these matches against Australia .

"The warm relations between our two Boards has developed further under the leadership of the current PCB chairman Ijaz Butt, with whom I enjoy an excellent working relationship, and ECB is delighted to support Pakistan in staging these matches."

The ECB confirmed that England would host Pakistan for four Tests, five one-day internationals and two T20 internationals in August and September of next year.

At this week's ICC Board meeting at Lord's it was confirmed that no World Cup matches in 2011 would be played in Pakistan and that Lahore would be removed as the tournament's administrative centre. The question of where Pakistan's allocation of 14 games would be held remained open, with Abu Dhabi and Dubai already ruled out. The matches are to be split between India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

The ICC president David Morgan said: "The Board remains committed to resolve this issue as soon as possible as there is an urgent need to press on with arrangements for the ICC’s flagship event, now less than two years away."

Clarke accepted the role of chairman of a new Pakistan task panel. This body, set up by the ICC, was charged with providing strategies and solutions to assist the Pakistan in protecting their position in international cricket.

Posted by Charlie Randall
26/06/2009 18:13:35

ICC knock back Pakistan claim

THE ICC have firmly rejected the legal claims initiated last week by the Pakistan Cricket Board concerning the removal of Pakistan as one of the hosts of the World Cup on the subcontinent in 2011. The whole action was beginning to look like some lawyers hoping for opportunist fees.

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The ICC emphasised that their Board had not decided to remove the PCB as a joint host of the event. They wanted matches that had been assigned to the PCB to be played outside Pakistan for security reasons.

ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat said: "We are naturally disappointed that the PCB has chosen to pursue its grievance with the ICC through legal channels."

Pakistan, as a venue, was removed from the schedule after the murderous terrorist ambush on the Sri Lanka cricket team and match officials while they travelled to a Test match in Lahore on March 3. Thilan Samaraweera, one of seven Sri Lanka players injured, was shot in the leg and spent two weeks in hospital.

Lorgat, in diplomatic terms, sounded the equivalent of livid when he said: "We hope that the PCB will reflect on this matter, withdraw their spurious claims and, as a responsible Full Member, engage with us in an appropriate manner." He added that the ICC also hoped the PCB realised that by attempting to pursue the matter through legal channels, their action would result in a "diversion of funds and resources better served to ensure a safe, secure and successful tournament in 2011, something that will benefit all our Members, including Pakistan."

Lorgat said: "We used our response to clarify inaccuracies and misunderstandings in the PCB’s claim, including confirmation of the fact that the agenda and the Board papers for the recent ICC Board meetings did very specifically raise the question of whether the ICC CWC 2011 matches assigned to the PCB as joint hosts should be relocated outside of Pakistan."

He added that the ICC pointed out that the ICC Board agreed only that ICC CWC 2011 matches should be moved away from Pakistan, not that the PCB should be removed from their position as a joint host of the event itself.

"The suggestion the ICC Board was not empowered to decide that matches should be moved away from Pakistan and that such a decision was ‘legally flawed’ is also incorrect and without foundation. The ICC Board is the policy-making body for international cricket and has broad powers under its constitution."

Lorgat said that not only was the ICC entitled to make a decision on this matter but they had a responsibility to do so on behalf of all members, something the Board was reminded of at the meeting by Lord Condon, one of the independent expert advisors on security matters.

"The ICC Cricket World Cup is our flagship event. It generates the majority of ICC event income for our great sport and without that income many of those members would struggle to operate or grow the game in the way they are currently able to. Given that fact, we need to deliver a tournament that is safe, secure and, above all, successful and it was on that basis that the decision was taken that matches could not be played in Pakistan."

Posted by Charlie Randall
14/05/2009 18:50:29

No Pakistanis for IPL

PAKISTAN players are unlikely to be participating in the Indian Premier League for security reasons, and a court decision in Sindh could hasten a solution to the thorny Indian Cricket League issue.

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Pakistan's foreign ministry barred their international players from travelling to the IPL due to security concerns that followed the November terrorist attacks in Bombay. The belief in some quarters in India that the Pakistan government was somehow involved in the shootings increased the danger to individuals.

Pakistan's Sports Minister Aftab Jilani said clearance was intitially given for participation in the IPL, leaving security as the franchise's responsibility. "We had given the No Objection Certificate, but the final decision was up to the government," Jilani said. "Ever since these attacks the situation has got tense, and even Pakistani artists are facing problems in India."

The IPL's attitude to the unofficial ICL was successfully challenged in a provincial court in Pakistan. A judgment suspended the ban imposed by the Pakistan Board barring players from domestic matches after they agreed to join the unofficial ICL, a restraint that affected about 19 players.

In 2007 the Pakistan Cricket Board, in deference to Indian wishes, barred players such as former Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul-Haq and batsman Mohammad Yousuf from playing at all levels in the country.

The ICL players challenged the ban in the provincial Sindh high court last month. The ICL lawyer Zahid Fakhruddin Ibrahim said justice had been done. "Judge Amir Hani Muslim has suspended the PCB ban imposed on the ICL players and they are now free to play," he said. Asked if the players could now play for Pakistan, Ibrahim said: "The ban was only on domestic cricket. It's up to the PCB to select a player for an international match or not and that cannot be challenged."

The players represented the Lahore Badshahs in the ICL season, coached by Moin Khan, and were a major attraction, winning the 20-overs league last year.

Posted by Charlie Randall
02/02/2009 15:17:35

Pakistan let off their forfeit

THE debate among the world cricket countries on Zimbabwe lasted through into an extra morning when no decision was reached in Dubai today. That was because hours had been spent discussing the Pakistan forfeit farce at the Oval.

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The International Cricket Council agreed that the Oval result in 2006 should be changed to a draw, deleting the forfeit incurred when Inzamam-ul-Haq declined to lead his Pakistan team into the field after tea on the fourth day.

The Oval deletion was remarkable in that changing a result in hindsight had no precedent and had no real basis. Indeed no reason or logic was offered for public consumption, though one delegate said privately that the decision was to "maintain the dignity of Pakistan in world cricket". The fact that Darrell Hair's opinion -- that ball-tampering had been going on -- was not backed by a subsequent ICC inquiry was the twisted logic used.

There were several cricketing decisions made in Dubai this week. One was a mandatory change of the white ball after 35 overs, a good idea as this is about the lifespan of the colouring before it goes grey.

CHARLIE SAYS: The Daily Mail suggested the ICC forfeit overturn was a cheat's charter, but this cannot be so. The ICC have changed the rules so that only the referee is allowed to abandon a match after due consideration, not the standing umpires. In any case Pakistan were on their way to victory when the Oval match wheezed to a halt. England are now left with a 2-0 series win and not 2-1 as the moral result should have been. The official 3-0 after forfeiture was a travesty, so nobody should feel affronted at that.

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The ICC announced the issues that were discussed and decided upon as:

Abbreviation: CEC means chief executives committee

Zimbabwe

The ICC Board had a lengthy discussion on the matter of Zimbabwe and at the conclusion of that discussion it was decided to adjourn and reassemble at 0900 hours on Friday, July 4.

Future Tours Programme post-2012  (The current FTP ends May 2012)

The CEC and the ICC Board considered the future landscape of the game at international level and both groups received a presentation on the concept of an alternative structure to bilateral tours including an enhanced Test championship.

The key considerations for both the Board and the CEC were and are:

1) All three formats of international cricket should be protected and promoted with Test cricket identified as the pinnacle of the sport

2) The ‘icon’ Test series must be protected

3) ICC should look at ways of taking greater central ‘ownership’ of international cricket outside its events or at least providing for more consistency in marketing/promotion

4) The concept of a Test Championship and/or play-off should be explored further

It was agreed all ICC directors would report back to their respective Boards to obtain updated financial information and feedback to enable a refined model to be prepared by ICC management with the plan to revisit the subject at the CEC meeting in December and the Board meeting in January 2009.

ICC Code of Conduct Levels 3 and 4 – Amendment to disciplinary process

Both the CEC and the ICC Board agreed to the recommendation that an Emirates Elite Panel ICC match referee will be entitled to report a Level 3 and Level 4 breach of the ICC Code of Conduct.

The breaches will then be referred to an independent, suitably legally qualified adjudicator. The person to be appointed will come from the existing list of ICC appeals commissioners.

Marlon Samuels

In May, West Indies player Marlon Samuels was banned for two years by a West Indies Cricket Board disciplinary committee.

The player was found guilty of offence C 4 (ix) of the ICC Code of Conduct, namely that he "received any money, benefit or other reward (whether financial or otherwise) which could bring him or the game of cricket into disrepute." The penalty for being found guilty of this offence is a minimum two-year ban.

An official inquiry made up of Mr Michael Beloff QC, the chairman of the ICC Code of Conduct Commission, and two other ICC code of conduct commissioners, has reviewed the WICB disciplinary committee finding to ascertain whether the disciplinary process and the punishment imposed were in keeping with the ICC regulations.

The official inquiry found both the process and the punishment to be appropriate and those findings were accepted by the ICC Board.

Oval npower Test match, England v Pakistan, 2006

The Board decided that the result of the above match should be altered. The change is from an England win as a result of Pakistan’s refusal to play to the match being termed abandoned as a draw. This means the series result is altered from 3-0 to England to 2-0. All players’ performances in the match are unaffected.

The Board’s decision was based on the view that in light of the unique set of circumstances, the original result of the match was felt to be inappropriate.

ICC Champions Trophy 2008

The ICC Board received an interim, oral report from security consultants on the security arrangements for the Asia Cup, the last multi-team event in Pakistan ahead of September’s ICC Champions Trophy.

A final report will be provided to the ICC in due course following the conclusion of the ongoing tournament. At this stage the ICC Champions Trophy will proceed as scheduled.

Playing conditions for the ICC Champions Trophy 2008 and ICC World Twenty20 2009.

The CEC agreed the playing conditions for both the ICC Champions Trophy 2008 and the ICC World Twenty20 next year. Both sets include a provision for a one-over eliminator to replace a bowl-out in the event of a tie. The eliminator will be applicable in the semi-finals and the final in the ICC Champions Trophy and all matches in the ICC World Twenty20.

The loss of two wickets by the batting side ends its innings. If the scores are equal then the team that has hit the most sixes combined from its two innings in the main match and the one-over eliminator is declared the winner. If the scores are still equal at that point then they will be separated by determining which of them scored the most boundaries – fours and sixes – in both innings.

The playing conditions will be posted on the ICC website, www.icc-cricket.com in due course.

Updated international playing conditions

The CEC decided a series of amendments to the playing conditions all of which will come into effect from the ICC Champions Trophy except the one on PowerPlays, which will be implemented on Oct 1, and the one on intervals, which will be implemented immediately.

Comfort Breaks

Clause 2 of the playing conditions will be amended to provide for the following:

Substitute fielders shall only be permitted in cases of injury, illness or other wholly acceptable reasons. ‘Wholly acceptable reasons’ should be limited to extreme circumstances and should not include what is commonly referred to as a ‘comfort break’.

Clean Catches

Clause 3.2.3.1 (b) of the playing conditions will be amended to provide for the following:

Should both umpires be unable to make a decision, they may consult by two-way radio with the 3rd umpire as to whether there is any definitive evidence as to whether the catch was taken cleanly or not. Following such consultation, the final decision will be made and given by the bowler’s end umpire. Should the bowler’s end umpire still not be able to decide, a not-out decision shall be given.

Changing of Balls (ODIs)

It was agreed to continue with the playing condition that requires a mandatory change of ball at the commencement of the 35th over in ODIs.

Intervals (ODIs)

It was agreed the playing conditions be amended so that the interval is reduced by the amount of actual playing time lost, up to a maximum of 15 minutes, rather than the current requirement of reducing the interval to 30 minutes only after more than 60 minutes have been lost.

The following amendment was also agreed:

"Where the innings of the side batting first is delayed or interrupted, the Umpires will reduce the length of the interval.

"In the event of time being lost (playing time lost less any extra time provided) up to and including 60 minutes in aggregate, the length of the interval shall be reduced from 45 to 30 minutes. In the event of more than 60 minutes being lost in aggregate, the duration of the interval shall be agreed mutually by the Umpires and both Captains subject to no interval being of more than 30 minutes' duration or less than 10 minutes' duration. In the event of disagreement, the length of the interval shall be determined by the ICC Match Referee."

Free Hits (ODIs and Twenty20 Internationals)

The current playing condition relating to free hits following a foot fault no-ball in ODIs and Twenty20 Internationals is retained.

PowerPlay Overs (ODIs)

The batting team will be permitted to choose when one of either the second or third PowerPlays takes place.

It was also agreed that three fielders be permitted outside the field restriction areas during both the second and third PowerPlays. Previously the third fielder was allowed outside the circle during either the second or third PowerPlay. The idea behind the amendment is to offer greater opportunity for spinners to bowl with the safety net of more protection for spinners

Chairman of the ICC Cricket Committee

The ICC Board selected former West Indies captain and ex-ICC match referee Clive Lloyd as the new chairman of the ICC Cricket Committee.

Mr Lloyd was selected ahead of the other nominee for the role, the former Pakistan captain Majid Khan. Mr Lloyd replaces Sunil Gavaskar, the ex-India captain, who stood down in May after eight years in the role.

Chairman of the ICC Code of Conduct Commission

Michael Beloff QC was retained as chairman of the ICC Code of Conduct Commission. Mr Beloff has held the post for the past six years.

The ICC Board consists of the chairman or president from each of the ten Full Members plus three Associate Member representatives. Also present at ICC Board meetings is the ICC president, who chairs proceedings, the ICC chief executive officer and the ICC president-elect.

Ray Mali ICC president

David Richardson ICC acting chief executive

David Morgan OBE President-elect

Creagh O’Connor Australia

Major General Sina Ibn Jamali Bangladesh

Giles Clarke England

Sharad Pawar (& Shashank Manohar) India

Dr Justin Vaughan (& Sir John Anderson) New Zealand

Dr Nasim Ashraf Pakistan

Arjuna Ranatunga Sri Lanka

Norman Arendse South Africa

Dr Julian Hunte West Indies

Peter Chingoka Zimbabwe

Associate Member representatives

Neil Speight Bermuda

Samir Inamdar Kenya

Imran Khawaja Singapore

Mr Speight and Mr Khawaja replaced HRH Tunku Imran (retired, Malaysia) and Stanley Perlman (Israel), with the choices made at the Associate Members’ meeting on July 1.

The CEC comprises the chief executives of the 10 Test-playing Members and three representatives from ICC Associate Members. It is chaired by the ICC’s chief executive. The ICC president and the chairman of the ICC Cricket Committee will be in attendance, although the chairman post is currently vacant.

Ray Mali ICC president

David Richardson ICC acting chief executive

James Sutherland Australia

Nizam Uddin Chowdhury Bangladesh

David Collier England

Niranjan Shah India

Dr Justin Vaughan New Zealand

Shafqat Naghmi Pakistan

Gerald Majola South Africa

Duleep Mendis Sri Lanka

Dr Donald Peters West Indies

Wilfred Mukondiwa (for Ozias Bvute) Zimbabwe

Associate Member Representatives

John Cribbin Hong Kong

Warren Deutrom Ireland

Laurie Pieters Namibia

Posted by Charlie
03/07/2008 18:14:13

Asia Cup goes audio on internet

A GROUP of four Malaysian cricket enthusiasts have been awarded internet ball-by-ball broadcasting rights for the Asia Cup tournament, starting in Pakistan on June 24, through a relatively new website called hearcricket.com that covered the recent ICC Under-19 World Cup in Malaysia.

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The broadcast is free to internet users. Gopal Sreenevasan, one of the founders, said: "We started this because we love the game. We were thrilled when the Asian Cricket Countil asked us to broadcast their Twenty20 in Kuwait last year. We sent a team of six broadcasters and two technicians there to complete the assignment.

"The broadcast was a resounding success, despite some initial difficulties with connections and wireless facilities. This is how the ICC got wind of us and invited us to become audio broadcast partners of the World Cup in Kuala Lumpur in February."

Hearcricket said the response from the Under-19 final, when India beat South Africa was encouraging, claiming an audience of thousands. They will be working with ESPN in the Asia Cup.

Posted by Charlie
09/05/2008 12:30:16

Misbah shows big six appeal

THE Pakistan player Misbah-ul-Haq has hit the biggest six of the ICC World Twenty20 up to the end of the two group stages, with the ball estimated by computer to have travelled 111 metres. That is a very big clonk, covering almost twice the boundary distance.

======STOP SUMMARY=====

New technology used by ESPN Star Sports has been calculating how far sixes would probably have travelled. Misbah hit his biggest six against Australia in an innings of 66 off 42 balls at Wanderers in Johannesburg, which has relatively thin air.
 
It could be argued that Justin Kemp’s 107 metres at Durban for South Africa against New Zealand was just as impressive. His colleague Albie Morkel fired a six off Chris Schofield in Cape Town that probably carried 106 metres, the ball clearing the stadium and adjoining railway line before landing in the nearby brewery.
 
In total during the 23 matches played, batsmen have hit 219 sixes and 594 fours. Five of the longest 11 sixes were hit in Durban, four in Johannesburg and two in Cape Town.

Biggest sixes (to Sept 21, after Super Eight stage)
 
1   111m        Misbah-ul-Haq (Pakistan) v Australia, Johannesburg         
2   107m        Justin Kemp (S Africa)   v New Zealand, Durban
3   106m        Albie Morkel (S Africa)  v England, Cape Town
4   105m        Yuvraj Singh (India)     v England, Durban
5   105m        Albie Morkel (S Africa)  v India, Durban
6   104m        Darren Maddy (England)   v New Zealand, Durban
7   103m        Yunus Khan (Pakistan)    v Sri Lanka, Johannesburg
8   102m        Albie Morkel (S Africa)  v England, Cape Town
9=  101m        Chris Gayle (W Indies)   v South Africa, Johannesburg
9=  101m        Craig McMillan (NZ)      v England, Durban
9=  101m        Shoaib Malik (Pakistan)  v Australia, Johannesburg

Posted by Charlie Randall
22/09/2007 11:50:53

Woolmer police had no choice

A LINE was drawn under the Bob Woolmer case by Lucius Thomas, commissioner of the Jamaica Constabulary Force, in Kingston at 11am Jamaica time. The Englishman had not been strangled or poisoned in his room at the Pegasus Hotel on March 18; he died of natural causes, presumably heart failure.

When the terrible news of Woolmer’s death first broke, a few pundits, including Mark Nicholas, urged the World Cup to be called off after such a crime. Imagine the tournament being abandoned. Now the cry would go up: “OK, chaps, everybody back.” 
 

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The misery caused by the incompetent pathologist in Kingston knows no bounds. One has to feel sympathy for the police. They had no choice; they simply had to follow up a report assuming murder by strangulation. Few facts seemed to fit, and there was no motive, unless one could be invented.

Commissioner Thomas said today the police had undertaken a “thoroughly professional investigation where nothing was left to chance”, and he concluded: “Neither the ICC nor the Jamaica Constabulary Force have found any evidence of any impropriety by players, match officials nor management during the investigation of Woolmer's death.”

Mark Shields, the deputy commissioner leading the investigation, said: “This was an extraordinary case. All we could do was look at what we had and seek help from elsewhere, which is what we did. Murder investigations are not like TV series, where everything is wrapped up in 45 minutes. All we could do was conduct a thorough investigation and not rush.”
 
Detectives from Scotland Yard and Pakistan were brought in to review the investigation, according to the police. They interviewed nearly 400 people and took almost 250 statements. All for nothing, as it turned out.

Posted by Charlie Randall
12/06/2007 20:44:38
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