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Umpires concerned by T20 tourney

Bermuda Cricket Umpires Association have ‘issues’ with the T20 tournament that have caused umpires to miss the first two matches in the competition this week.

BCUA vice-president Stephen Douglas confirmed there were some problems when contacted yesterday by

The Royal Gazette, though he declined to elaborate.

‘We forwarded our concerns to the BCB and are awaiting their reply,” was Douglas’ brief response when questioned about the non-showing of umpires for matches on Wednesday and Thursday evenings at Somerset Cricket Club and Devonshire Rec. “We just want to look at some things and view them in the best interest of the game.”

Bermuda Cricket Board CEO Neil Speight is off the Island and could not be reached for comment yesterday. The response from the BCB office was that they are looking into the matter.

The Lindo’s T20 Tournament started this week with teams playing with white clothing and red balls which have made it difficult for the fielding team in particular to spot the ball in darkness once it leaves the bat. At the second match at Devonshire Rec concerns were even raised about players’ safety with the way the ball was being smashed around in fading light by Flatts pair James Celestine and Reginald Baker.

One team, Warwick, were a late withdrawal from the competition, with player-coach Lionel Cann expressing concerns about the tournament which has matches starting at 6.15 at Somerset. The failure of the BCUA to appoint umpires suggests the umpires, too, have some concerns.

After his team beat PHC in the opening match on Wednesday, Willow Cuts captain Dwight Basden raised concerns about the use of the red ball, saying the team batting first had a clear advantage against the red ball.

“The red ball favours the team batting first because at night the ball is too dark to pick up,” said Basden after his team’s seven wicket win.

“I think they are going to have to make a change, even the pink one they used last year was hard to pick up. The answer is definitely a white ball.”

Whether a white ball will be adopted for next week’s matches remains to be seen. Somerset will meet Somerset Bridge on Wednesday night while St. George’s will play Cleveland on Thursday at Devonshire Rec, with Western Stars taking on PHC at Somerset the same night.

n The Umpires Association is this weekend mourning the death of one of its former members, Mahdee Shabazz who died on Wednesday at the age of 59.

Shabazz umpired in the 1990s and also served as treasurer for a few years.

Former umpire George Francis expressed shock at hearing of his former colleague’s death. “We were like family, he’s going to be a big miss in my life,” said Francis who received a phone call yesterday morning informing him of Shabazz’s death.

“I didn’t even know he was in the hospital. We are close friends from when I was President and secretary of the Bermuda Cricket Umpires Association and he was the treasurer. We were very close. I spoke to him about two months ago and we spoke about cricket, the Umpires Association and a few other things. The phone call was a shock this morning.

“I got to know him through cricket when the late Mr (Luther) Wilkin was alive and he invited him to come to an association’s meeting. He was a guy who had a lot of wisdom. He did matches when teams like Australia, New Zealand and India came through here. He never did Cup Match but did Eastern, Central and Western Counties.

”He’s going to be a great loss. He wasn’t active as an umpire but had the wisdom that he could have passed on as a legacy he got from George Trott, Luther Wilkin, Randy Butler, ‘Shorty’ Spencer and those guys.”

Shabazz, a retired Prison Officer, was also a deputy chairman of the Prison Officers Association.

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Published June 22, 2013 at 9:00 am (Updated June 21, 2013 at 7:56 pm)

Umpires concerned by T20 tourney

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