New Zealand's cricket umpires have joined the professional
age at last.
Five years after New Zealand Cricket (NZC) employed its elite
panel of umpires for first-class summer fixtures a New
Zealand Professional Cricket Umpires' Association (NZPCUA)
has been established.
Its main role is to formalise contract negotiations with NZC,
an organisation which found itself at loggerheads with the
match officials last summer.
There was a threat of the umpires striking but that did not
eventuate after the national body and the officials settled
on a one-year deal relating to retainer payments and match
fees, which remain confidential.
NZPCUA president Barry Frost, of Auckland, told NZPA today
that the formation of the new body placed the umpires on an
equal footing with the players, who are represented by the
New Zealand Cricket Players' Association.
"Being fulltime created a new dynamic and I suppose we have
been muddling along with each umpire trying individually to
sort out their contracts with New Zealand Cricket," he said.
"We have essentially decided to follow the model established
by New Zealand Cricket by splitting the professional and the
"It will be far more efficient now that we've formed our own
association to have one voice talking to New Zealand
Elite panel umpires are in for a busy time of it next summer
when the men's domestic competitions alone will be played on
88 days starting on November 7.
Frost said his organisation was negotiating with NZC for
terms to a long-term contract but he did not expect next
summer's remuneration levels to differ from those used in
Meanwhile, NZC today released its umpiring panels for
2011-12, highlighted by the promotion of Auckland's Wayne
Knights to an eight-strong elite list and the demotion of
former New Zealand and Wellington left-arm spinner Evan Gray
to the A panel.
The elite panel does not contain Auckland pair Billy Bowden
and Tony Hill, who are both on the International cricket
Council's elite panel.
Two other additions to the A panel are Tony Gillies, who was
promoted from the emerging panel, along with fellow
Aucklander and former first-class player Chris Brown, who has
been umpiring for just two years.
NZC's national umpire manager Rodger McHarg said Gray's
demotion was a "really hard call".
"We have had to look at the wider picture and the
opportunities on merit to promote talent.
"In the end it is a numbers game and trying to fit a quart
into a pint pot is not easy.
"Wayne Knights deserves his promotion to the elite panel
after consistent development and performances in the A panel
recently and I'm confident he will continue to develop and
Wellington's Kathy Cross is the sole female named on the
10-strong emerging panel and she has also been appointed to
officiate at the women's World Cup qualifying tournament in
Bangladesh in November.
Elite panel: Gary Baxter (Christchurch), Chris Gaffaney
(Dunedin), Phil Jones (Auckland), Wayne Knights (Auckland),
Derek Walker (Oamaru), Barry Frost (Auckland), Evan Watkin
(Wellington), Tim Parlane (Christchurch).
A panel: Phil Agent (Christchurch), Hiran Perera (Auckland),
Evan Gray (Tauranga), Mike George (Paraparaumu), Chris Brown
(Auckland), Ash Mehrotra (Papakura), Mark Elliott
(Masterton), David Reid (Christchurch), David Paterson
(Blenheim), Peter Spall (Auckland), Peter Gasston (Auckland),
Tony Gillies (Auckland).
Emerging panel: Paul Anderson (Napier), Glen Walklin
(Napier), Shaun Ryan (New Plymouth), David Tidmarsh
(Hamilton), Kathy Cross (Wellington), Raoul Allen (Auckland),
John Bromley (Nelson), Garth Stirrat (Waikanae), Johann
Fourie (Masterton), Aaron Hardie (Tauranga).