Saturday, January 16, 2010

Sports News 16.01.2009(A)


1.HARARE: After seven years in the cricket wilderness Zimbabwe is at last showing real potential for a possible return to full Test status.

A new league structure of regional first class matches, funded jointly by the International Cricket Council (ICC) and local franchising sponsors, is energising the game here.

Players are being paid US dollar match fees, win bonuses and awards for centuries or five wicket hauls.

Under a team of full-time coaches headed by David Houghton and former national captain Heath Streak, about 80 young and experienced players have shown such progress over the last three months that convenor of national selectors Alistair Campbell is prompted to suggest Zimbabwe will be playing Tests in two years. Houghton believes it might only be one year.

Cricket in Zimbabwe was getting nowhere even seven years after being forced out of Tests following a series of embarrassingly bad results.

Sri Lanka, New Zealand and England were the main instigators by declining to meet future commitments.

But instead of rebuilding through a first class domestic league and concentrating on three- or four-day matches, they almost exclusively played the quick-fire versions.

All that changed with an exploratory visit to Zimbabwe last year by former West Indies captain Conrad Hunte at the head of an ICC delegation. Hunte came up with a plan designed to springboard Zimbabwe’s return to Tests on merit.

His idea was for franchised teams to be established in five main regions with local characteristics and names such as Mountaineers (Eastern Districts), Southern Rocks (Bulawayo) and Mashonaland Eagles (Harare) so as to provide healthy rivalry within a first-class professional league structure.

It began with the new 2009-10 season in September.

Cricket in Zimbabwe was also decentralised by the league, with the national body, Zimbabwe Cricket headed by chairman Peter Chingoka, becoming little more than a general admin and finance focus.

Kenyon Ziehl, who runs the Midlands team, told AFP: “Our league is fully professional on player salaries, each regional franchise having a chief executive, general manager, enthusiastic committee and proper accounting.

“Because of this set-up our national squad will consequently get better and better and there are early signs of this.”

As it happens, Zimbabwe remains on the official ICC “forward programme” of Tests with series scheduled this year against West Indies, Australia and England. These won’t happen, but the fixtures have not been removed.

According to Houghton, a former senior Zimbabwe batsman (he once scored 266 runs against Sri Lanka), who was engaged as a senior coach told AFP: “Once we get the fast bowling sorted out by Heath Streak as national bowling coach – it is presently not up to strength – I reckon we will be ready.”

Houghton has been working with national coaching director Andy Waller, a former Test all-rounder, and other coaches.

The new Zimbabwe league has already attracted several former Test players, such as Dion Ebrahim, Hamilton Masakadza (a recent double century), Vusi Sibanda (averaging 100 in the league), Tatenda Taibu and John Rennie.

There are also efforts being made to secure the return, in the England off-season, of Sean Ervine (Hampshire) and Murray Goodwin (Sussex), the latter in recent years being consistently at or near the top of the English County Cricket batting averages.

In addition, Ray Price, Greg Lamb (Northants), Rickey Wessels (son of former South Africa captain Kepler), Graeme Cremer, Gavin Ewing, Elton Chigumbura, present captain Prosper Utseya and Charles Coventry (197 runs in a recent ODI) form the basis of a national squad.

They will be off to the West Indies next month for ODI’s and Twenty-20s.

Ziehl foresees a series of four-day matches being arranged “before very long” against Test nation “A” sides so as to provide further experience and incentive.

Good results from such matches will be critical if they are they to presage a formal application by Zimbabwe Cricket to the ICC for a new and rejuvenated Zimbabwe to resume its place as a Test cricket nation. —AFP

2.JOHANNESBURG: Match referee Roshan Mahanama on Saturday defended television umpire Daryl Harper after a controversial decision during the fourth and final Test between South Africa and England.

Mahanama denied telling England coach Andy Flower that Harper had failed to adjust the volume of an audio feed from the stump microphone before upholding a decision by on-field umpire Tony Hill to turn down an appeal for a catch behind the wicket against South African captain Graeme Smith.

In a statement issued through the International Cricket Council in Dubai, Mahanama said Harper had followed the correct protocol.

He said the volume on the third umpire’s feed was set by a head engineer of the host broadcaster, the South African Broadcasting Corporation, and an ICC technical adviser.

“If the audio level had been increased above its optimum level, distortion on the audio feed would have occurred and the feed might not have given a clear indication of the true sound,” he said.

“At no stage (had) I indicated to the England team management that the third umpire had forgotten to adjust the volume of the speakers. I had actually briefed the England team management of the protocols that were followed during this review.

“It should be kept in mind that the TV umpires sometimes receive feeds which are at a different level to what others are receiving for the simple fact that various broadcasters at times use different technologies while televising a match and the Johannesburg Test is a case in point.”

This tallies with what Flower told journalists on Friday evening when he said he had been informed by Mahanama in a first meeting with the match referee following the incident that Harper did not receive the same feed as South African pay channel SuperSport and England’s Sky television.

Viewers of SuperSport and Sky clearly heard a noise as the ball passed the edge of Smith’s bat but there was apparently no obvious noise on the SABC broadcast, which it appears is the same feed received by the television umpire.

But Flower then said: “On subsequent investigation we found that wasn’t correct. I went back and this time he said that Daryl Harper hadn’t turned up the volume on his mic. We have heard the nick but the third umpire hasn’t.”

Flower said he was “very disappointed” with the decision and planned to make an official complaint.

According to Mahanama, “the third umpire, when reviewing the decision, used a range of technologies that were made available to him by the host broadcaster, including the slow-motion replays, amplified stump microphone sound (at normal speed and slow motion), approved ball- tracking technology and pitch mat generated by the ball-tracking technology”.

“During the review, the TV umpire followed the correct protocol and as he did not hear any noise to indicate the ball hitting the bat, he recommended Mr Hill to uphold his earlier decision. It must be noted that umpire’s decision is final.

“In the end, it must be remembered that there needs to be conclusive evidence to over-turn the decision of the on-field umpire as the Decision Review System has been designed to eliminate the obvious umpiring errors.”

3. HOBART: Pakistan captain Mohammad Yousuf is very upset for poor performance by his batsmen and said that he called for Younis Khan for strengthening team’s batting but selectors did not send him to Australia.

“Younis is a good player for the team and country. I have been saying for ages we need him. I also said that in New Zealand. You can ask the (national) selectors about why they didn’t pick him” Yousuf said here.

Yousuf had urged the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) to rush Younis to Australia after the team’s batting flopped in the opening Test against the Aussies in Melbourne last month. But the national selection committee made it clear that it will only pick Younis once he proves his form on the domestic circuit.

“We don’t need to check him in first-class cricket,” said Yousuf. “He has an average of 50 in Tests and has been playing well for 10 years. We have to see him here, not there,” he said.

While the Pakistani selectors decided against rushing Younis to Australia for the Sydney and Hobart Tests, they have recalled the former captain for the one-day series that will begin from Jan 22 in Brisbane.

4.The ECB has asked the ICC to reinstate the review that was used up for the controversial appeal against Graeme Smith on the second day at the Wanderers. Daryl Harper, the TV umpire, upheld the on-field decision of 'not out' made by Tony Hill, but England were furious when it emerged he hadn't had the volume turned up to hear the nick.

Giles Clarke, the ECB chairman, said the board would continue to pursue the matter: 'We have grave concerns about how this process was implemented and I will be addressing the issue at the highest levels within ICC during this match.'

Hugh Morris, the managing director of England cricket, has written to Roshan Mahanama, the ICC match referee in charge of this series, and expressed England's concerns over the review system.

'The ECB has sought further clarification from ICC that there is nothing in the regulations to prevent the ICC chief executive and/or match referee from re-instating the referral to correct the gross error in process,' the statement said. 'The ECB would like to make clear that the England team management had registered concerns regarding the absence of hotspot for use in the DRS system at a pre-series meeting attended by ICC officials and the match referee.

'The England team management were advised that the protocol for this series would be that the sound on the stump microphone would be turned up on decision review to check for disputed catches.

'In ECB and the England team management's view, the agreed protocol was not implemented and the sound was not turned up on review. As a result a TV replay which indicated that bat had made contact with ball was heard by millions of television viewers but not by the match control team.'

Earlier in the day the ICC came out in defence of Harper saying all the correct protocols had been followed in coming to the decision, and also questioned Andy Flower's version of events after the England coach said he'd been told Harper had forgotten to turn up the volume.

The third morning included further controversy for Harper when he overturned a decision against AB de Villiers after Tony Hill had given him out caught at leg slip sweeping at Graeme Swann. The ICC playing conditions state that the third umpire must have 'a high degree of confidence' to change an on-field call, but replays didn't appear to confirm one way or the other so, by the ICC's own wording, Hill's decision should have stood.

To make England even more agitated they then used up their final review with an appeal against Mark Boucher. He had been not out lbw and the Hawkeye replays confirmed it should remain an on-field call with the graphics showing the point of impact being marginal. Then, however, moments before lunch, de Villiers got an inside edge off Ryan Sidebottom that was given not out, but England had no reviews left to challenge the call.

5.HOBART: Australia tightened the grip on the third Test as Pakistan were all out for 301 runs and failed to avoid the follow-on the third day here at Bellerive Oval on Saturday.

However, Australian captain Ricky Ponting did not force the follow-on and decided to bat in the second innings after gaining a big lead of 218 runs in the first.

Mohammed Asif and Umer Gul – two Pakistani tail enders resisted for long and succeeded to build up a valuable 53-run tenth wicket partnership before Asif was dismissed as Pakistan needed 19 runs more to avoid the follow-on.

Australia, not forcing the follow-on, went on to play the second innings and lost an early wicket for only one run on the board when fast bowler Mohammad Aamer got Shane Watson out caught at slip by Mohammad Yousuf for one.

At stumps, Australia were 59 for one with Simon Katich and Ponting batting on 33 and 25 respectively.

They have so far gained a huge lead of 277 runs with two days remaining for going for a possible whitewash against Pakistan.

Earlier, opener Salman Butt and allrounder Shoaib Malik resumed the Pakistan’s first innings at 84-4 with their overnight scores of 34 and four, respectively.

Both batsmen batted with responsibility and survived the first session, adding 64 runs in two hours, and Pakistan were 158-4 at lunch. Butt was on 74 and Malik on 28.

After lunch, the two batsmen played with more confidence and took the score to 200.

Then Salman Butt completed his third Test century, the first by a Pakistani batsman in the current series, off 230 balls with 17 fours.

Ponting on that occasion introduced part-time bowler Simon Katich who dismissed Salman Butt, caught behind by Brad Haddin for 102.

Butt and Malik added 129 runs for the fifth wicket partnership.

Katich then dismissed debutant wicketkeeper batsman Sarfraz Ahmed for one and Aamer for four to claim three wickets for 34 runs in 10 overs. Danish Kaneria was also removed by Nathan Haurritz for eight.

Pakistan were tottering at 248-8 when Gul and Asif provided resistance to Australian bowlers and took the score to 297-9 at tea.

6.HOBART (Tasmania) Captain Ricky Pontings fifth double-century, a double Peter Siddle breakthrough and two calamitous run-outs set Australia on the path to a record 12th straight Test win over Pakistan on Friday.
The tourists went to stumps on the second day in dire straits at 4-94 in reply to Australias 519 for eight declared, after Ponting and Michael Clarke amassed a 352-run stand in the third Test at Bellerive Oval.
Fittingly, the Tasmanians 209 on another day of dominance now stands as the record Test score in Hobart, surpassing Kumar Sangakarras 192 two years ago. Clarkes 166 eclipsed his 151 on Test debut against India as his own career-high.
The pair successfully batted through three entire sessions before their nine-hour stand - the sixth-highest Australia Test partnership - ended when the vice-captain misjudged an innocuous Danish Kaneria leg-spinner.
But Pakistans pain of watching Australias leaders take the game away from them was nothing compared to when their two most dangerous batsmen were needlessly run out.
Opener Salman Butt (34 not out) was the villain for both, as captain Mohammad Yousuf (7) and young gun Umar Akmal (8) were dismissed in a 4-21 collapse.
Looking for a third run from a straight drive, Yousuf was sent back late by Butt and was caught short by a typically-strong outfield throw by Mitchell Johnson.
The furious captain stood hand on hip at the river end, delivering a prolonged death stare at Butt, who had also contributed to the dismissal by labouring through the first two runs.
Umar fell when the left-handed opener was accidentally blocked by the bowler, Nathan Hauritz, and also sent back too late to beat Mike Husseys throw. It undid all of Butts good work with Imran Farhat (38) after they resolutely produced a 63-run first-wicket stand.
It was Siddle, under pressure after taking just six wickets in his four Tests this summer, who started the dramatic afternoon stumble. The barrell-chested Victorian (2-20 off 10 overs) took two wickets in four balls by having Farhat caught behind and Khurrum Manzoor edging to Ponting at second slip for a duck.
With the pitch ideal for batting, his double breakthrough put the home side on course for their 12th consecutive win over the tourists - the joint best of any team against a rival nation.
Dropped before he scored on the opening day, Ponting was given another life on 167 when Farhat missed a sizzling lofted off-drive at cover.
It was Mohammad Aamer, who dropped Ponting on Thursday morning, who finally dismissed him when the Australia captain spooned him to Mohammad Yousuf at extra cover.
AUSTRALIA, first innings
Watson c Farhat b Gul29
Katich lbw b Asif11
Ponting c Yousuf b Aamer209
Hussey c Sarfraz b Aamer6
Clarke b Kaneria166
North c Sarfraz b Asif21
Haddin c Gul b Kaneria41
Johnson c Sarfraz b Kaneria8
NM Hauritz not out12
EXTRAS: (b 1, lb 3, w 5, nb 7)16
TOTAL: (8 wickets dec; 142.5 overs)519
Fall of wickets: 1-28 (Katich, 6.6 ov), 2-52 (Watson, 15.6 ov), 3-71 (Hussey, 20.2 ov), 4-423 (Clarke, 122.6 ov), 5-443 (Ponting, 129.1 ov), 6-498 (Haddin, 138.3 ov), 7-499 (North, 139.1 ov), 8-519 (Johnson, 142.5 ov)
Aamer31-7-97-2-3.12(2nb, 5w)
PAKISTAN, first innings
Farhat c Haddin b Siddle38
Salman Butt not out34
Khurram c Ponting b Siddle0
Yousuf run out (Haddin)7
Akmal run out (Hussey)8
Shoaib Malik not out4
EXTRAS: (b 1, w 1, nb 1)3
TOTAL: (4 wickets; 36 overs)94
Fall of wickets: 1-63 (Imran Farhat, 22.2 ov), 2-63 (Khurram Manzoor, 22.6 ov), 3-74 (Mohammad Yousuf, 28.6 ov), 4-84 (Umar Akmal, 33.3 ov)
DE Bollinger6-2-13-0-2.16(1w)
PM Siddle10-3-20-2-2.00
MG Johnson7-1-32-0-4.57
NM Hauritz13-4-28-0-2.15(1nb)

7.JOHANNESBURG (AFP) Graeme Smith and Hashim Amla shared a century partnership as South Africa closed in on Englands first innings total on the second day of the fourth and final Test at the Wanderers Stadium on Friday.
South Africa were 160 for one at lunch, just 20 runs behind Englands 180 all out. Smith was unbeaten on 84 and Amla had scored 52 not out.
The batsmen had to negotiate some hostile bowling at the start of an extended mornings play, with the ball swinging and moving off the pitch, but gradually took control as 131 runs were added in 35 overs. The only batsman dismissed was the out-of-form Ashwell Prince, who was out for 19.
Smith survived a confident appeal for a catch behind the wicket when he was on 15 in the fourth over of the day.
He chased a wide delivery from Ryan Sidebottom and the slips cordon went up in unison as wicketkeeper Matt Prior held the ball but the South African captain was given not out by umpire Tony Hill.
England asked for a review and although a sound could be heard on television replays, third umpire Daryl Harper could not find a reason to overturn Hills decision.
The snick and hot spot technology is not being used in the series.
Prince was out in the next over, caught at second slip by Graeme Swann off Stuart Broad, but England could not make another breakthrough.
Both batsmen played some edgy shots early on but the scoring rate was reasonably brisk, with England setting attacking fields.
As the morning progressed, Smith and Amla started to bat confidently.
They notched a fifty partnership off 81 balls and made the stand worth 100 after 156 balls.
ENGLAND, first innings: 180
SOUTH AFRICA, first innings: (overnight 29-0)
G. Smith not out84
A. Prince c Swann b Broad19
H. Amla not out52
EXTRAS: (b1, lb3, nb1)5
TOTAL: (1 wkt, 47 overs)160
Fall of wicket: 1-36 (Prince)
To bat: J. Kallis, A. de Villiers, J. Duminy, M. Boucher, R. McLaren, D. Steyn, M. Morkel, W. Parnell
Anderson13-2-47-0 (nb1)


Click Here



Up-coming Sports Events

Live Cricket Score


Click Here