'Schiedsrichter' - German for 'umpire'
Paul Baldwin, the England-born German umpire, has steadily climbed the rungs and will officiate in the upcoming Under-19 World Cup in Malaysia. KR Nayar of the Gulf Times caught up with him in during the ICC Intercontinetal Cup in Sharjah.
Just before stepping out for the match, a few players asked him: "Do people play cricket in Germany?" Baldwin's prompt answer shocked them. "We have 70 teams playing every weekend and are already in the World League Division five."
Baldwin went on to impress everyone with his shrewd decision-making skills. "I was born in England. My parents were with the British forces and I moved to Germany when I was 17. I've never been to England since then," said the 34-year-old umpire who has also acted in two German movies.
How did he land up as an umpire? "I was the captain of my team, not because I was a good player, but as someone who used to do the rounds to make sure 11 players were on the bus at the right time. During matches, I also used to umpire. In fact, I once gave a decision which was disgusting," he revealed sheepishly.
Ashok Ganguly is an editorial assistant at Cricinfo