Category Archives: In Memoriam

Behind the face of cricket umpires

I have to hand it over to our friend Jonathan for this excellent post on the much debated issues related to umpires in cricket. Jonathan’s take on the increasing emphasis of specific umpires on some incidents taking the brunt of all the scrutiny by the fans and the media is well put out and the case of the extent of the workload, umpires like Asad Rauf and Simon Taufel have to endure, is an eye opener, as hardly any have looked into their direction and understand what goes behind their work. There are more dimensions to the topic in his article, which is a very nice read.

To continue my perspective on that topic, it is unfortunately not the fault of the fan for this plight but rather the umpires and their governing system themselves that choose to hide that face.

How much information is actually being given out to the fans, the biggest stakeholder of the game on what goes behind this system. Unfortunately very little.

We do know that supposedly every April, a review happens. After a gap of many years, two new umpires were inducted into the elite panel. But what actually goes on still remains one of the many eternal boardroom mysteries that none wants to disclose much about. There is indeed a distinct real possibility that there has not been much inroads in the quality of umpires being churned out by the respective member boards but considering at the same time, there is not much information being shared on the systems in place and their actual workings and findings, you just have to take everything as a pinch of salt.

Either this is a rather old fashioned veil of secrecy, which reminds me of the days 10 years back in my career, watching annoying mac operators on the job in the advertising industry, desperately using only keyboard commands with their hands blocking the view of what keys are actually being pressed, in their ridiculous quest for safeguarding their trade and keep their value in the market going or indeed there is a genuine apathy by the administrators on matters relating to umpiring.

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Hayden’s nemesis

Mathew Hayden proved to be the nemesis yet again and positively endorses the fact that he ain’t human but an android possibly built by the Pope to kill the evil and all-powerful money making Indian cricket empire, if I could call it one. He was truly outstanding and after watching him for so many years, I still can’t figure out any chinks in the armor and so is the whole cricketing world.

Lee deserved to get the man-of-the-series, in what was the best and most consistently brilliant spells of fast bowling seen in a long time. I felt Akhtar’s destruction of New Zealand was the best individual match spell… This series, Lee was scintillating through out. I can’t say the same about Shaun Tait who continues to remain mediocre and hopefully, somebody will wake me up and show me when he finally consistently performs rather than receiving Hollywood style trailers after trailers on him but no real action.

Stuart Clarke was great but would want to forget the last match. I think rather than Johnson, he should take the new ball as Johnson wastes it by bowling too wide. Johnson has the pace required to create a dangerous reverse swing and logically, they need to switch.

Hogg kind of started well and lost the plot. I had hopes on him and now think it is time for Australia’s number 3 spinner… Bryce Mcgain to be given a shot.

Symonds took very opportunity and made it count and played a considerable part for this series victory. Ponting was all at sea, though he did a Dravid in the last match.

The Indians would have a lot more to take away from this tour and also end up in the same dreaded position they were with regard to the opening pair. Sehwag earned his comeback with his crucial set of knocks but it is time to send Jaffer back to drawing board to work on his technique. The biggest positive for India was on the bowling front where in spite of their best fast bowler, Zaheer Khan down in the dumps with an injury, he was hardly missed with R.P Singh who continues to improve and Ishanth Sharma being a good find, has brought a lot to cheer about. Pathan made his comeback but that surely cannot be a surprise considering he has some genuine talent.

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League conference

Auto-roller, is the brand name of parent company of Autoguide, who have been manufacturing 3ft and 4ft Cricket Rollers for over 80 years. Established in 1926, the company has manufactured, serviced and continually developed their machines in the UK, at Heddington in Wiltshire, whilst maintaining and improving all their features and benefits that has made them so successful around the world.

Auto-Rollers are used at all of the English Test Grounds today. Lords, (the Home of Cricket, as featured on our AD) , Headingley, The Kia Oval, Edgbaston and Trent Bridge to ensure the perfect playing surface for all days of a Test Match.

Steve Rouse, the former Groundsman at Edgbaston, said about the machine: ”The AutoRoller is the best in the World. The machine is ageless and lasts forever. We roll to a depth of two and a half inches dry down and we can be rolling up to 8-10 hours a day pre-season. It takes 12-16 hours to roll a wicket and the crawl speed on the AutoRoller is spot on for this. It does the job, uses no fuel to speak about and is an all round great tool!”

AutoRollers are used extensively throughout Schools, Cricket Clubs and First Class County Cricket Grounds, to ensure the finest cricket wickets for any standard of cricket, to help and maintain an excellent wicket condition. Autoguide also do the Turf Trooper, a cylinder mower ideally suited for cricket grounds outfields. The world’s smallest triple cylinder ride on Mower. It will mow up to two acres per hour with a 1.5m (60?) cutting width.

Americans hope to qualify

Surprise! Surprise! When all the eyes were on the seriousness with which China is internally trying to get cricket going in their country with the help of PCB, silently the Americans are not far behind from the Germans (whoa) in getting a foothold into the cricket fraternity.

Apparently 12 teams including Germany, Mozambique, Nepal, Norway, Vanuatu, Afghanistan, Bahamas, Botswana, Japan, Jersey and Singapore are all going to battle it out in the ICC world league division.

The weirdest thing about this was that the American cricket association, was actually banned for a couple of years for some strange internal political reasons which you come to expect from any sports federation organization, be it the ICC or FIFA. In the recent ICC meet, their suspension was lifted.

What is positive from the Americans is that from the usual takes of baseball, many of their public schools have introduced cricket. As you would come to expect, there would be significantly large numbers of their immigrant citizens from India, Pakistan, Malaysia, South Africa and the West Indies.

On a general note, perhaps with their love for baseball and the similarities of the two sports, it shouldn’t actually be too difficult a proposition for them to make inroads into the cricketing world. One thing I assume will be good from them would be the fielding if they take a leaf out of baseball like what the Australians do.

The other country getting into cricket which basically stunned me is Vanuatu! I plead my ignorance and my curiosity chased me into their association site.

Here is a pic on the boys from Vanuatu learning cricket! From all the bickering and whiplashes happening in world cricket, there is light after all at the end of the tunnel.