Cricket Um­pir­ing: A thank­less job

An um­pire is the only sin­gle per­son who alone can make or ruin a game of cricket.

Alive - - News - by C.K.S.

There were lots of crit­i­cisms about the stan­dard of um­pir­ing go­ing down in World of Cricket. To err is hu­man but to err on a line call when re­plays are there is a blun­der. It is usu­ally said that the line be­longs to the um­pire and even the third um­pire err at times, which in­cludes press­ing the red but­ton in­stead of green but­ton to cause a stir. If an In­ter­na­tional um­pire fails al­ways he is black­listed and re­moved from the elite panel of um­pires. At the same time, when an um­pire is do­ing ex­tremely well in a par­tic­u­lar sea­son, then he is re­warded by the ICC in its an­nual func­tion.

An um­pire is the only sin­gle per­son who, alone can make or ruin a game of cricket. If he makes it, your av­er­age crick­eter takes the fact for granted. If he ru­ins it, your crick­eter grum­bles, for­get­ting that, for far too long, crick­eters have paid too lit­tle at­ten­tion to the um­pir­ing of their matches. Play­ers have only half knowl­edge about DRS but they make big cry all the time. Cricket is a team game where per­for­mance is the name of the game. Just like batting, bowl­ing and field­ing, um­pir­ing also play a cru­cial role in de­cid­ing the course of the match. As an um­pire of the Tamil Nadu Cricket As­so­ci­a­tion, I was able to of­fi­ci­ate matches at Delhi, Chen­nai, Coim­bat­ore and Mumbai. Um­pir­ing is a thank­less job but at the same time it is a very in­ter­est­ing pro­fes­sion also. My brother was a men­tor, who took ini­tia­tive to make a class um­pire in the cir­cuit. The hit and run game of cricket makes the um­pire also to run here and there. You need lot of con­cen­tra­tion, pa­tience and per­se­ver­ance to be a suc­cess­ful um­pire.

The re­cruit­ment of um­pires, es­pe­cially at lower club level, is of­ten left to chance and the stan­dard of um­pir­ing can thereby be un­ac­cept­ably low. Apart from the fa­mil­iar sight of mem­bers of the batting side joy­lessly serving half-an hour stints, one might find crick­eters un­fit through in­jury, so­cial mem­bers with

lit­tle to com­mend them save a wish to oblige, ca­sual spec­ta­tors pressed into ser­vice for the af­ter­noon and will­ing en­thu­si­asts, un­in­formed and un­taught, en­ter­tain­ing them­selves with­out giv­ing the play­ers much sat­is­fac­tion. Re­tired play­ers osten­si­bly the most likely po­ten­tial um­pires, fre­quently make them­selves avail­able but although their ex­pe­ri­ence pro­vides in­valu­able back­ground, the finer points of an ex­cit­ing are apt to es­cape them, as few play­ers have more than a pass­ing knowl­edge of the Laws.

Ex­pe­ri­ence

It is quite im­per­a­tive to note that play­ers learn by ex­pe­ri­ence. When Gary Sobers was asked to fol­lowon in West Indies in a match cur­tailed by rain for 4 days, the lee­way ought to be 150 runs and not 200 runs as in the case of 5 day game to en­force a fol­low on. Gary was sur­prised but quickly learned from the mis­take. Ge­off Boy­cott was once caught red handed for not know­ing a ba­sic rule in Aus­tralia. Hit wicket rule is mis­con­strued and mis­used as well. My brother was given out hit wicket when he was in the process of tak­ing a run and the bat ac­ci­den­tally fell on the wicket. That com­pelled him to learn the Laws of the Game and he be­came one of the first rate um­pires in DDCA.

It is all in the game. At times um­pires forced to give de­ci­sion so that an out­right win can be pos­si­ble to at­tain points in a league game. Again, if you give a star bats­man out LBW, the field­ing side will look at you with a strange look as though you com­mit­ted a mur­der.

An um­pire should be pro­fes­sional in the best sense of the word "phleg­matic, un­ob­tru­sive, dig­ni­fied, cour­te­ous of ab­so­lute in­tegrity and very much pre­pared to dis­charge his du­ties fear­lessly and im­par­tially.

The good um­pire is ded­i­cated to the task of con­duct­ing a game so that the play­ers get the ut­most en­joy­ment from it. This needs the high­est pos­si­ble stan­dard of um­pir­ing and he de­votes a por­tion of his leisure to study­ing, re­fresh­ing de­bat­ing points of law and rein­ter­pre­ta­tion and im­prov­ing his tech­nique in ev­ery way seek­ing to en­sure that he be­comes a mas­ter of his craft. The finest um­pires are those who ap­pear to make the fewest mis­takes. Even our best um­pires can be mis­taken in fact, but the pos­si­bil­ity of er­rors may be re­duced by ac­quir­ing a thor­ough knowl­edge of the Laws of the Game and by un­remit­ting con­cen­tra­tion. With­out the abil­ity to con­cen­trate, or the self­dis­ci­pline to at­tain con­cen­tra­tion, all else is to no avail. The mar­gin of er­ror should be less and not glar­ing. Again, the um­pire should not have the habit of com­pen­sat­ing their ear­lier mis­take by giv­ing a wrong dis­missal.

Once I was of­fi­ci­at­ing a TNCA League match at Chen­nai and some of the team's mem­bers were con­sid­ered to be show­ing rough be­hav­iour and go the ex­tent of beat­ing op­po­site team play­ers and um­pires with cy­cle chain, if some­thing goes wrong against their wishes. As the match ended the no­to­ri­ous team cap­tain lost the match but shook hands with me for my ex­em­plary stan­dard of um­pir­ing. That saved me the day as the match went up to the manda­tory overs stage. Um­pir­ing is re­ally thank­less job. Read­ing more books on cricket um­pir­ing and at­tend­ing sem­i­nar on um­pir­ing at the high­est level and go­ing through cricket um­pir­ing ques­tion an­swers will help you to learn the finer points of um­pir­ing.

The good um­pire is ded­i­cated to the task of con­duct­ing a game so that the play­ers get the ut­most en­joy­ment from it. This needs the high­est pos­si­ble stan­dard of um­pir­ing and he de­votes a por­tion of his leisure to study­ing, re­fresh­ing de­bat­ing points of law and rein­ter­pre­ta­tion and im­prov­ing his tech­nique in ev­ery way seek­ing to en­sure that he be­comes a mas­ter of his craft. The finest um­pires are those who ap­pear to make the fewest mis­takes.

There is more pres­sure on um­pires in a cricket match.

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