Thatscricket - News - UCBSA calls on ICC, Supports Koertzen

Published: Tuesday, March 13, 2001, 23:53 [IST]
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Johannesburg: The United Cricket Board of South Africa (UCBSA) has called on the International Cricket Council (ICC) to set up a smaller professional umpiring panel to avoid problems between umpires from different countries.The UCBSA said this supporting leading South African umpire Rudi Koertzen, who has been involved in a bitter spat with Sri Lankan umpire B C Cooray over the second Test in Kandy against England.The UCBSA told the daily Sports Day that Koertzen was being dragged into an ill-tempered "war" with players that were not of his making. Both Koertzen and Cooray have previously fallen foul of the English during their tour to South Africa 1999/2000.UCBSA Director of Umpiring Brian Basson said Koertzen was "to my mind one of the best umpires around," adding the current ICC panel of 20 umpires was "unwieldy and subject to abuse"."We need only the best umpires in the world on the panel. If that means five Australians or five Englishmen, and no Sri Lankan's at all, then so be it," Basson said. "The current system of two from each Test nation is open to abuse. It is not always the best two umpires in a country finding their way onto the panel. That is where problems lie."Basson had suggested seven years ago that the ICC appoint eight umpires on contract. English Cricket Board chairman Lord Mac Laurin, who is expected to arrive in Sri Lanka Thursday in an attempt to resolve the dispute there, supports Basson's proposal.Mac Laurin said steps had already been taken in this regard and the eight appointees would act as an "elite panel." He also wanted no home umpire to be involved in a Test.But Basson differed with this view. "So what if two Australian umpires are standing in a Test involving Australia? That's not the point. The point is that they must be the best in the world," Basson said.He said the ICC should appoint umpires on well-paid contracts and should also pay them match fees. "Should those fees be good enough, umpires will be very careful not to mess up and harm their earning potential," Basson added.Mac Laurin said players had to be consulted on any proposed changes, but also called for players to lead by example in cleaning up the game. "The incessant appealing we saw in the second Test was unnecessary and put huge pressure on umpires," Mac Laurin said.Meanwhile, Koertzen will be replaced by the second South African umpire on the ICC panel, Dave Orchard, for deciding Sri Lankan-England Test starting Thursday in Colombo.India Abroad News Service

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