Concentration is key to making the tough calls on the cricket pitch according to Jayath Batuwangala.
The Auckland umpire credits his Buddhist religion for helping him in those hard-to-call moments.
‘‘Meditation is an integral part of my religion and that helps me to concentrate while I’m umpiring.
‘‘As a club umpire I think if you concentrate on each and every ball you can give a fair decision every time.’’
Batuwangala, who lives in Epsom, began his umpiring career in Sri Lanka in 1997 after he passed the examination by Sri Lankan Cricket’s Board of Control.
The globally recognised test focuses on playing conditions and the laws of cricket and it was the love of the game that led him to umpiring.
‘‘There between umpiring.
‘‘Umpiring cricket is not an easy thing and if you lose your concentration you can’t be a good umpire.
‘‘I played good cricket in Sri Lanka but because of my studies and work I never got a chance to go ahead with it.’’ is a vast difference playing cricket and
In Sri Lanka Batuwangala worked for Sri Lankan Railways as a workshop manager and today his day job is an engineer with KiwiRail.
Batuwangala immigrated to New Zealand in 2005 and it didn’t take long for him to approach Auckland Cricket so he could continuing his love of umpiring.
‘‘I haven’t missed a season in Auckland since 2006 and I do 50 to 60 matches every year.
‘‘I have done my final exam, level 4, which is recognised by New Zealand Cricket.’’
He now has his sights set on becoming an international umpire, which is his main target, and Auckland Cricket has put his name forward to become a member of the New Zealand Umpires Panel.
The game is the perfect metaphor for life, he says.
‘‘There are ups and downs, unpredictable things, glorious things.
‘‘It is a very impermanent thing, a batsman can make 100 and the next ball he is out.
‘‘Cricket has given me a formal base to associate with the community and I love it for that.’’
Batuwangala, who was a handy spin bowler, is often down at Melville Park helping young cricketers perfect their technique.
He spends the off-season playing badminton and occasionally heads down to the nets himself and bowls a few overs.
‘‘During winter I am very concerned about my fitness because as an umpire I need to be fit.’’
As for the World Cup, the 51-year-old made a prediction before the tournament started – New Zealand will bring home the silverware.