DAILY GRIND

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS -

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.

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