Umpiring January 14, 2009

When God is the man 22 yards away

They say 'To err is human, to forgive divine’ and that's concretely manifested in almost every first-class game played in India
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Dear readers,

We, Indians, are always looking for divinity in everything. We make Gods out of normal human beings and treat the game as a religion of sorts. Following the same trend even deeper I can clearly see divinity at work in first-class cricket. They say 'To err is human, to forgive divine’ and that's concretely manifested in almost every first-class game played in India.

Take the ongoing Ranji Trophy final for example, whether it was Wasim Jaffer on the first morning or Zaheer Khan on the second. Both of them erred in judgment and nicked the ball to the wicketkeeper but the umpire standing 22 yards away forgave their human follies and divinely granted them some more time to improve on their game in the middle. On the other hand both Ajinkya Rahane and Mohammad Kaif had to turn to their divinity when the man 22 yards away erred disastrously and gave them out when they clearly weren't.

The standard of umpiring in first-class cricket has been below-par for as long as I've been playing the game but rarely do we see people talking about it, apart from the affected players that is. The reason being that the matches were never shown live and hence there was never enough evidence to attract criticism. Now that the matches are shown live and they happen to be really high-profile games, the mistakes are glaringly visible and the consequent criticism very vocal.

I'll avoid sounding like a cynic and hence will mention only a few incidents and leave it to the readers to make up their minds. Not so long ago, in a Duleep Trophy game, we heard someone talking at square leg. Initially, we though the fielder must be chatting with the umpire, which happens quite often, and was a little too loud. But to our utter disbelief there was no-one fielding in the vicinity and the umpire was standing alone. Was he talking to himself? Further inspection revealed he was busy talking on his mobile phone, a fact he vehemently denied, but the next phone call gave it away. It was on silent but the vibrator mode's buzz was rather audible.

Then there was this incident when a bowler bowled six front-foot no-balls in an over without getting called for any one of them. I was at the non-striker's end and kept drawing the crease to attract the umpire's attention but to no avail. I did improve my drawing skills, though, and I can proudly say that drawing a straight line with my bat is not an issue any more!

On many occasions, the umpires walk towards covers or mid-wicket before adjudging someone leg-before wicket. A few of the decisions might have been correct, but as a batsman you don't want to see the umpire moving sideways to decide whether the ball was hitting the stumps or not.

Before you start blaming the BCCI for everything, let me tell you that efforts are being made to improve the standard of umpiring in the country. There are six cameras installed for the duration of every first-class match played in the country. There's an umpire's coach who gets the live feed and monitors their performance. Based on the video evidence he rates the umpires for their competency, decision-making and proper implementation of the rules. Since this started only last year, there is still some time before we start reaping the benefits of the exercise.

Please don't get me wrong, there are still a lot of umpires who have gained a lot of respect from the players and are very competent. Umpiring goof-ups happen in international cricket as well so first-class cricket can't be foolproof. As long as the human element is involved in the game, which I think should be there forever, mistakes are going to be made. Don't we as a batsman or a bowler make mistakes? Since we, cricketers, also make plenty of mistakes on the field, regardless of however much we crib and cry, we do have to make peace with the fact that the man standing 22 yards away is also human and can commit mistakes. After all "to err is human …"

Cheers

PS: I know it might sound like a plug but I'm also human and hence allowed to err … My book is out in stores and I'm waiting for some honest feedback.

Former India opener Aakash Chopra is the author of Out of the Blue, an account of Rajasthan's 2010-11 Ranji Trophy victory. His website is here and his Twitter feed here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Amarnath on January 23, 2009, 14:22 GMT

    Hey aakash bhaiya, i know how it feel to be one sacked of bad decision.but u should know that these happens to all level not only in ranji,even in junior state matches and even in district. I was also the one to be sacked due to this.umpire dont think about our future only they do better of them. Best of luck yaar. Perform better and be in indian 11

  • Vishal S on January 22, 2009, 10:03 GMT

    Dear Aakash, Your article is excellent read as always. Its really good to hear about stuff that happens in the domestic circuit as thats where the character and careers are built for the cricketers. Its true when you say that the umpires are human and they are likely to err.. but the problem is when they err again and again, and nobody points out the mistakes to them which is quite likely in our domestic circuit, they are basically playing with people's careers. I know the standards are improving but there is still a lot of room for improvement. Also read the review of the book which seems really interesting.. Any chance we would be able to get that in uk as am living in london and would like to get my hands on our books.

    Cheers Vish

  • Deepak M on January 21, 2009, 5:45 GMT

    Dear Aakash, well written article and I always make it a point to read thru your contributions since have always found the articles well balanced and objective in assessment of the topics that you chose. And sad to see some readers pointing out negatives on you personally, And mate yes looking forward to laying my hands on "Beyond the Blues" (like the title ;), harper and collins here I come, And Btw played in Netherlands for a couple of years and heard about your cricketing exploits there, well done cheerz, Deepak

  • eat sleep drink cricket on January 20, 2009, 16:08 GMT

    A well balanced article. Umpiring is an issue at international level too as you point out in your article. In fact it is one of the most pressing issues, considering the debates regarding the use of technology to aid umpiring decisions.

  • Sundar on January 20, 2009, 15:42 GMT

    Good article. Keep going Akash.

  • ranger on January 19, 2009, 18:21 GMT

    Akash. How many ex players go on to become umpires in India. I know of only two -venky and suresh shastri who used to play for Rajasthan. If you know more let me know. So Akash , when you retire will you or other first class cricketers become umpires. Most probably not.

  • Sekhar on January 19, 2009, 5:57 GMT

    At a time when India is not playing any international cricket,at a time when the media's sole focus is on events happening off the field,there are encouraging signs that umpiring is soon to change for the better.Like the recent fielding review headed by Robin Singh,domestic coaches review headed by Ganguly,Kumble etc,why not have an umpiring review headed by V K Ramaswamy and Srinivas Venkatraghavan,to revamp the umpiring system at the domestic level? Maybe you could pass on this word to the recently retired players(Dada and Kumble) who will then take up this cause with the Board ? This could then be implemented at the international level so that we won't witness rehashes of the Sydney Test 2008.

  • Ram Maharaj on January 18, 2009, 15:28 GMT

    I am a qulified umpire living and umpiring in London. Over here the qualified umpires do not get the top umpiring jobs, I do not know how it works in India. Here in England the the ex first class cricketrs are appointed to umpire first class cricket, and as I know over the years that I can remember only 2 of those were qualified. The qualified umpires over here umpire in Saturday & Sunday leagues, although there are talks going on now about changing this soon to make all first class umpires in the future to be qualified, but that maybe sometime to come. What about test match umpires,as far as I know none of them are qualified & they make so much cock ups, there is one who does not even know how to signal according to the laws of cricket. Of like most people before I became an umpire I thought all first class & test match umpires had to be qualified. I once wrote to the Indian cricket authoties to umpire in India and I never even got a reply.

  • Prasad DOLE Cape Town on January 17, 2009, 15:38 GMT

    I have heard you on television you are articulate use the medium well and have read a few of your blogs you write well, lucidly. This means you have the mass media to express your views in addition to the official (maybe feeble may back fire) channel to complain to BCCI. So despite if you take bad instance in umpiring lying down I have to be harsh and say to you deserve it. In the hope you will get selected again I can understand you will not ruffle feathers with the Board. But be realistic you only chance to play is now accidental. So go for the jugular & expose and make a parallel career in mass media.

  • Rana on January 17, 2009, 14:23 GMT

    Hey Akash,

    I agree with all the comments about the standard of umpiring in domestic circuit. I have played the game for almost a decade and have seen both good and bad decisions against players....I think right now BCCI has started to take action and is implementing what is called as the umpires coach. I cannot talk on behalf of how qualified these coaches are but certainly know that there are few good ones there to evaluate the umpires who officiate in the domestic circuit. One name that comes to my mind is V.K. Ramaswamy....for someone who is involved with the game for almost 3 decades and umpired in 2 world cups for India and has tons of experience....Also the head of the committee is none other than Venkatraghavan....I think apart from these two and may be couple others India never had good -solid umpires...I think the umpiring is headed with the right concept and in some proper direction...Also its time we see some Indian faces in the elite panel....

  • Amarnath on January 23, 2009, 14:22 GMT

    Hey aakash bhaiya, i know how it feel to be one sacked of bad decision.but u should know that these happens to all level not only in ranji,even in junior state matches and even in district. I was also the one to be sacked due to this.umpire dont think about our future only they do better of them. Best of luck yaar. Perform better and be in indian 11

  • Vishal S on January 22, 2009, 10:03 GMT

    Dear Aakash, Your article is excellent read as always. Its really good to hear about stuff that happens in the domestic circuit as thats where the character and careers are built for the cricketers. Its true when you say that the umpires are human and they are likely to err.. but the problem is when they err again and again, and nobody points out the mistakes to them which is quite likely in our domestic circuit, they are basically playing with people's careers. I know the standards are improving but there is still a lot of room for improvement. Also read the review of the book which seems really interesting.. Any chance we would be able to get that in uk as am living in london and would like to get my hands on our books.

    Cheers Vish

  • Deepak M on January 21, 2009, 5:45 GMT

    Dear Aakash, well written article and I always make it a point to read thru your contributions since have always found the articles well balanced and objective in assessment of the topics that you chose. And sad to see some readers pointing out negatives on you personally, And mate yes looking forward to laying my hands on "Beyond the Blues" (like the title ;), harper and collins here I come, And Btw played in Netherlands for a couple of years and heard about your cricketing exploits there, well done cheerz, Deepak

  • eat sleep drink cricket on January 20, 2009, 16:08 GMT

    A well balanced article. Umpiring is an issue at international level too as you point out in your article. In fact it is one of the most pressing issues, considering the debates regarding the use of technology to aid umpiring decisions.

  • Sundar on January 20, 2009, 15:42 GMT

    Good article. Keep going Akash.

  • ranger on January 19, 2009, 18:21 GMT

    Akash. How many ex players go on to become umpires in India. I know of only two -venky and suresh shastri who used to play for Rajasthan. If you know more let me know. So Akash , when you retire will you or other first class cricketers become umpires. Most probably not.

  • Sekhar on January 19, 2009, 5:57 GMT

    At a time when India is not playing any international cricket,at a time when the media's sole focus is on events happening off the field,there are encouraging signs that umpiring is soon to change for the better.Like the recent fielding review headed by Robin Singh,domestic coaches review headed by Ganguly,Kumble etc,why not have an umpiring review headed by V K Ramaswamy and Srinivas Venkatraghavan,to revamp the umpiring system at the domestic level? Maybe you could pass on this word to the recently retired players(Dada and Kumble) who will then take up this cause with the Board ? This could then be implemented at the international level so that we won't witness rehashes of the Sydney Test 2008.

  • Ram Maharaj on January 18, 2009, 15:28 GMT

    I am a qulified umpire living and umpiring in London. Over here the qualified umpires do not get the top umpiring jobs, I do not know how it works in India. Here in England the the ex first class cricketrs are appointed to umpire first class cricket, and as I know over the years that I can remember only 2 of those were qualified. The qualified umpires over here umpire in Saturday & Sunday leagues, although there are talks going on now about changing this soon to make all first class umpires in the future to be qualified, but that maybe sometime to come. What about test match umpires,as far as I know none of them are qualified & they make so much cock ups, there is one who does not even know how to signal according to the laws of cricket. Of like most people before I became an umpire I thought all first class & test match umpires had to be qualified. I once wrote to the Indian cricket authoties to umpire in India and I never even got a reply.

  • Prasad DOLE Cape Town on January 17, 2009, 15:38 GMT

    I have heard you on television you are articulate use the medium well and have read a few of your blogs you write well, lucidly. This means you have the mass media to express your views in addition to the official (maybe feeble may back fire) channel to complain to BCCI. So despite if you take bad instance in umpiring lying down I have to be harsh and say to you deserve it. In the hope you will get selected again I can understand you will not ruffle feathers with the Board. But be realistic you only chance to play is now accidental. So go for the jugular & expose and make a parallel career in mass media.

  • Rana on January 17, 2009, 14:23 GMT

    Hey Akash,

    I agree with all the comments about the standard of umpiring in domestic circuit. I have played the game for almost a decade and have seen both good and bad decisions against players....I think right now BCCI has started to take action and is implementing what is called as the umpires coach. I cannot talk on behalf of how qualified these coaches are but certainly know that there are few good ones there to evaluate the umpires who officiate in the domestic circuit. One name that comes to my mind is V.K. Ramaswamy....for someone who is involved with the game for almost 3 decades and umpired in 2 world cups for India and has tons of experience....Also the head of the committee is none other than Venkatraghavan....I think apart from these two and may be couple others India never had good -solid umpires...I think the umpiring is headed with the right concept and in some proper direction...Also its time we see some Indian faces in the elite panel....

  • ganesh on January 17, 2009, 4:24 GMT

    Just read your Book's review on Cricinfo by Suresh Menon. I am very glad that he has lots of good things to say, and his final statement where he mentions "A Must Buy" book has surely convinced me to buy one copy, not that I was waiting for positive review as I always knew it will be good, but I am sure it is a confirmation of your honest nature of writing.

    Also nice to see you on Headlines today channel as cricket expert, you definitely has a career beyond being a player. Good luck.

    Me being in US, am still looking for online purchase options, have not seen the book appear on any website.

  • Andrew on January 16, 2009, 12:03 GMT

    I agree Akash, its just a pity that some of your compatriots (and cricket board, and cricket captain, and cricket press) couldn't apply the same impartiality and analysis to the Test in Sydney in January 2008!

  • Naveen on January 16, 2009, 10:52 GMT

    Hi Akash! I am totally agree with you that standard of umpiring are not really good these days. I wonder wrong decisions can change whole game and it can spoil career of a cricketer. I am really disappointed at the quality of umpiring especially in India. None of indian umpires seems to have international standard. I feel these umpires should look within themselves and ask questions that why is not indian umpire in elite panel of ICC. For making a difference umpires only have to come forward and work proffessionally. It seems that there is a lot of politics and favors in this proffession also otherwise why only one team always get benefit from umpiring decisions. I still hope that young people will come into this proffession and would make a change. Cheers

  • shivendra on January 16, 2009, 9:36 GMT

    Exellent Superb Headline.

  • abd on January 16, 2009, 1:28 GMT

    Akash, I want to talk about little different issue. Domestic games are boring as teams tend to bat forever to get points based on first innings. The latest Ranji finals is a good example. How about trying a different format. A four day game will have 90overs max for each innings. The team can use second innings overs in the first. If a team bats for 120overs in the first innings then it will have 60overs for second. We will get results for every game and will make it interesting. A five day match can have 100/110 overs max. This will add another dimension to the game. Captains will have to plan the first inning according to the strength of the side and playing condition. WE will get results barring weather conditions. What do you think?

  • Dr. Ahad Khan on January 16, 2009, 1:12 GMT

    Akash, A well written Article on Umpiring. I am a qualified Grade Cricket Umpire in Sydney, NSW. Yes, Umpires are Human & will make mistakes - A Good Umpire inculcates a sense of Neutrality - remains emotionally detached - maintains Good Health ( tiredness will cause lapses in Concentration )& Mentally prepares himself for the arduous Task ahead. Also, a Good Umpire will never attempt to ' Neutralise ' an error, by making another Wrong Decision just to compensate - never must be done. Players need to respect an Umpire's Decision - otherwise, ' it ain't Cricket ' anymore !!

  • Andrew on January 15, 2009, 21:31 GMT

    This is also why we find it funny that the Indian cricket teams is usually the most vocal about umpiring mistakes in tests. I think they are just used to a different type of umpiring where they get their way because they are part of the indian team and it is well known that in international cricket, indian umpires are the worst. In fact not long ago and maybe still is the case did not have an indian cricketer in test level umpires.

  • Homer on January 15, 2009, 19:55 GMT

    Yawn!

    I recall a blog post by Mr Chopra after Delhi lost the Md Nissar Trophy, becoming the first Indian team to do so. It was titled "Not a damaging loss".

    When one is so blase about one's own performance, bit rich to expect higher standards from others, no?

    Cheers,

  • Chaitanya on January 15, 2009, 18:55 GMT

    Hi Aakash,

    Nice post that you have got here showcasing the plight of umpiring in domestic circuit. In a cricket crazy country like ours I would just do anything to stand admist of the players whom we adore and perform a duty that all players respect. But people who actually que up doing it cannot become a disgrace. For instance the talking on cell-phone incident is a real dis-grace. I dont know how lucrative the umpiring profession is but, if its projected in the right way I dont think days are not far to realise when a IIM grad can choose Cricket commentry why cant one become a umpire. After all we can live cricket all thru....and yet be professional. Kudos on your book. Good luck for your future.

  • Aakash Chopra on January 15, 2009, 17:18 GMT

    Thanks a lot for your feedback...it's really appreciated. For people who think that I'm whining or pointing out only negative points about domestic cricket I would like to ask a simple question. What do you want to know about domestic cricket, sir?? Only the scores?? Issues raised would always rub someone the wrong way so instead of blaming me for whining, please see what exactly are you doing? I'm just potraying the life of a first class cricketer and the issues that bother him. If you really aren't interested in knowing that...pls read something else. As for the people who asked about the book...it's called Beyond the Blues and is available in all book stores across the country. It'a a harpercollins publication so pls ask the retailer for the same. Once again...thx a lot for your support and love. Cheers

  • Xavier Etukuri on January 15, 2009, 12:57 GMT

    The articles written by Akash are really thought provoking. But this particular column goes 50-50.

    It is very sad for some players who are given out through wrong decisions when they are in the middle to prove themselves. Some times these kind of decisions can cost a player his carrier too. But at the same time blaming an umpire who gets just a fraction of second to decide and make a decision cannot be blamed too. This does not mean that I am in support of the umpires because the technology has changed and the umpires should make right use of the technology when they are provided. One of my friend was mentioning about the standard of umpires in his post. The two umpires who are officating in the ranji final are international umpires from India who regularly officiate for the matches which India plays in the subcontinent. If these umpires are to be blamed, one can understand the standard of the umpires who would be officiating in the group stages of Ranji games.

  • Shashi on January 15, 2009, 12:37 GMT

    Hi Aakash, You do seem to have a knack with words however you are telling an old story in a new way. The standard of umpiring has been poor in domestic cricket in India however as you pointed out efforts are underway to coach umpires. And there is no conspiracy theory at work in the Ranji final

    Would you have written this article if Delhi was in place of Mumbai??

  • Vivek Agarwal on January 15, 2009, 10:53 GMT

    Akaash an interesting approach, giving despair and hope at the same time.

    The issue which needs to be raised is - What are other countries doing to traain their Umpires?

    If its a sheer chance that Simon gets born in Australia is different, but if Australia has methods in place to groom the umpires and train them in their infancy (umpiring infancy) then those should have been highlighted.

    Efforts and planning can give results, whining simply is only letting out frustration and adding negativity.

    Please add valuable suggestions from a seasoned cricketer's perspective to make this article a good usable piece of work.

  • Vivek Agarwal on January 15, 2009, 10:46 GMT

    Akaash an interesting approach, giving despair and hope at the same time.

    The issue which needs to be raised is - What are other countries doing to traain their Umpires?

    If its a sheer chance that Simon gets born in Australia is different, but if Australia has methods in place to groom the umpires and train them in their infancy (umpiring infancy) then those should have been highlighted.

    Efforts and planning can give results, whining simply is only letting out frustration and adding negativity.

    Please add valuable suggestions from a seasoned cricketer's perspective to make this article a good usable piece of work.

  • mahendra on January 15, 2009, 10:41 GMT

    Hi Aakash, First of all very little is written about bad umpires & their bad umpiring.Take the case of Indian Umpires, we have a bunch of umpires who may be professionals in their own field but not competent enough to judge a decision.We as spectators & followers of a lovely game of cricket fail to understand why we do not highlight a scorecard for eg Scorecard Tendulkar lbw Sangle (pitched outside leg bad umpiring) 99 (110) Sehwag b Sangle (was no ball-bad umpring)0 (1)

    Take the case of the recent umpiring decisions in the Ranji Final. It seems that BCCI & the selectors watch the cricketers and the decisions made by umpires is overlooked. In this case a umpire must be handed over a penalty 1)Deduction of match fees 2)Penalty for the number of errors 3)Sitting out for 1 month (BCCI affiliated matches) 4)The contract with the umpire to be nullified. The fact is umpiring errors cannnot be ignored.I am a ardent fan of this beautiful game called cricket

  • Sekhar on January 15, 2009, 9:27 GMT

    Some light-hearted humour for a change!:) For those who think Akash's articles are full of negativities,read the posts again;most importantly read between the lines and you'll find some positives there.Talking in mobile phone while umpiring,giving out lbw from cover/mid-wicket are not acceptable practices in umpiring and so Akash has expressed his regret.

    Your book? You launched it silently without any fanfare,eh? I expected a little bit of media coverage showing a pic of Virender Sehwag receiving the first copy.But still...I'll check it out.

  • Madhu on January 15, 2009, 9:22 GMT

    Hi Akash

    Well written article about the umpires, I remember something much more shocking incident from my U-16 days back in Blore, during a Zonal match, one of the umpire on field went out in the middle of the innings to make sure he attend a association meeting and till such time, Coach from the batting side did leg umpire work. No one could say anything since he was from a powerful lobby in the association.

    There are also incidents in the league matches, where UMPIRES have "HELPED" a batsman or a bowler to get more runs and wickets in order to facilitate their selection. Infact its now been taken an accepted norm in league matches.

    Didnt we became privy to such things right from our junior cricket. well perhaps the time for a CHANGE is donning on us now

    Anyways good luck with your book and I am waiting to lay my hands on it, sooner than later.

  • thomas on January 15, 2009, 8:56 GMT

    Umpires can make or mar a match. These were the words of Nevielle Cardius who was one of the best writers on cricket. The Ranji trophy would have been a real tight and competitive match if there were third umpires ruling out on only wrong descions. It should a system that is suo moto basis. The third umpire should rule on such matters. In UP's case Kaif and Shukla were giving a horid time to Mumbai when that horrendous descion came his way and when Shukla was out it completely demoralised UP to the extend that each person comming in did not know what to expect from the umpires. Shame Shame this is taking out a lot of the Final even if Mumbai evetually wins it takes away all the shine almost like a case of cheating on the hard working UP players and robbing two people of their chance to even come to the higher level. Is it some conspiracy theory at work you tell me

  • ganesh on January 15, 2009, 8:32 GMT

    Well said Sundar. Aakash try to think positive in life.The last article I read from you was that you were cribbing about not receiving test match ticket.Today's post Aakash umpiring I misunderstood that you are going be an umpire and read the above. Crickby writing cribbing stories. et has lots of pros and cons. If are interested you can crib about BCCI again by saying that they are conducting yet another foreign tour without practice match (India NZ revised tour is published)

  • Ashwath sekhar on January 15, 2009, 8:12 GMT

    Hi aakash, I would like to know why domestic captains in India bowl first on pitches that offer a semblance of hope in the first hour. Isn't batting last on a crumbling wicket more difficult than batting for the first hour on a pitch like Nagpur. It alarms me that Kaif actually thought that he would gain the upper hand by inserting a team like bombay with such a high profile batting line up. Kinda sounds like ganguly inserting the aussies in Jo' berg in 2003. But I would really like to know why the fascination with bowling first?

    P.S sorry that this has nothing to do with your blog on poor umpiring but I was startled with Kaif's decision. To me the smile on Jaffer's face said it all

  • Anand on January 15, 2009, 7:26 GMT

    Its nice to read the different facets of ccricket that you bring out in your writings.

    Some humor sprinkled in, they really make good artiles. So have you stopped thinking about India test cap ?

    I know its tough with gambhir and shewag, but never give that up! You never know god might smile on you suddenly.

    Good luck with the book and your rerurn to India test team.

    Anand.

  • Ganesh on January 15, 2009, 3:59 GMT

    Aakash, Very interesting, umpire on cellphone during domestic match !! There should be some fine imposed otherwise there is no way that umpire will rectify his mistakes.

    Btw..good luck on your Book, read that launch got pushed out from Dec 22 supposed to be held at Taj hotel Mumbai. Not sure if any websites have it for online purchase, I am in US ...

  • ravi on January 15, 2009, 3:58 GMT

    hai akash.. nise article but it would be more apprieciatable if it had some positives in it u are just pointing out the mistakes but there were some good decisions as well..i do accept how it feels when u r reciving end but once we step in those shoes we know what it is,,as a player u know how much hard work u have put in to reach this level.. the same way the umpires whom u r talking about put in to be at that level..i do accept there are umpires of kind whom u talked about but dont blame entire fertinity...as varun said its the split second for an umpire to give his opinun and he doesnot get second chance tto change it...by the way pls let me know the book name so that i can get it

  • Chetan on January 15, 2009, 3:04 GMT

    Its Shocking to know about Umpire, speaking on his mobile. Well, i am completely agree with you, human element involved in judging LBW, even No balls and run outs in some cases, but irresponsible behavior on field is not acceptable. Bolwers delivers beamers, Fielder split catches they are errors as well, Only difference is players are allowed commit errors while umpires are for identify those errors. Well, as you mentioned BCCI's actions to improve umpiring standards, hope so, it will help in future.

  • naastik on January 15, 2009, 1:28 GMT

    Do the umpires in first class matches get a contract with BCCI? If they are not actually professional umpires, is it even fair to expect professionalism from them in the modern version of the game? Just asking ...

  • Varun Srivastava on January 15, 2009, 1:08 GMT

    Hi Akash, I am a level 3 Umpire in Wellington, New Zealand and I believe there are some things which are out of my control. For example, if a left arm spinner is in operation bowling over the wicket to a right handed batsman with silly mid-off n silly mid-on, 2 slips, gully n a leg slip, fisrtly it is very difficult to make bat-pad decision and also it is difficult to give LBW with that angle but there are lot of instances where ball straightens up and we are caught in two minds. Being an umpire is equally tough as being a player, but if a player commits a mistake he has time to rectify it but when we commit mistake by giving someone LBW or caught, there is no time to rectify it until the next match.

  • Rohit Paliwal on January 14, 2009, 23:11 GMT

    Akash, I haven't seen enough domestic games on TV to comment on what has been pervasive and what's not. However, if we tabulate the contentious decisions in this Ranji Final (either those adjudged not out when they were or those that weren't adjudged out when they were), UP has really been at the wrong end of the stick here. Come to think of it, both Rohit and Nayar were fortunate to avoid two straightforward LBW appeals. These two accounted for more than 2/3rd of Mumbai's score in first innings. Kaif and Shulka on the other hand were both adjudged out when either they were clearly not or in one case, should have benefited from doubt. Both of these guys accounted for almost 1/2 of UP's first innings score. Shouldn't umpires try and neutralize their bad decisions ex-post (i.e. when they are in knowledge of the fact that they committed a mistake). Instead, UP continued to be at the receiving end. Umpires should realize how their decisions can change games, which is so true here.

  • Sundar on January 14, 2009, 22:25 GMT

    Oh Man, yet another whining article from you, Come on Akash, spare us. When was the last time you wrote an article on anything positive in indian cricket.

  • Shaqib on January 14, 2009, 21:52 GMT

    Hey Aakash, This was well written - As a cricketer, I completely feel your emotions as I have similar feelings towards umpires, especially those who just are there for the sake of being there. Whether it be an umpire or player, I think it is a slow death for any sport if all correct intentions are not present. It is great to hear that BCCI is taking such steps as we really need to get quality Indian umpires to the elite level. Indian or non-Indian, the sport will greatly benefit from continous improvements in all aspects. We currently have great umpires who err very little if even such as Simon Taufel (I think he has set a precedent in modern umpiring) and we need to continue this breed of umpires. Very little people know the work that he personally puts in before actually standing in any match. All in all, we hope umpiring standards and cricket in general will be on rise as we see in these modern times.

    Cheers, Shaqib

    PS. Good luck with yuor book!

  • Sidhanta Patnaik on January 14, 2009, 19:54 GMT

    I remember one incident in Guwahati when Jadeja had nicked the ball to the Srilankan wicketkeeper, the umpire raised his hand and then in an after thought scratched his head. Jadeja went on to score a good 50+ score. That is the image that comes to my mind on reading this article

  • Shefali on January 14, 2009, 19:00 GMT

    Hello Aakash, Good luck with the book. I've heard that sometimes umpires have made decisions more on the players reputation than on the merit of the ball. For example you said above Jaffer and Zaheer Khan- Jaffer an Indian cricketer and arguably one of the top domestic batsmen and I dont have to say anything about Zaheer. Rahne who one would say? Its important that the umpires are qualified and make an effort to make the right decisions, for the good of the game in India and may be try and get on the elite pannel( for their own good). Speaking on the phone is unaccaptable, they should be banned for life. The below standard and undefqualified umpires are wasting their time and spoiling the careers of young cricketeres.

  • Miten on January 14, 2009, 18:48 GMT

    It's shocking to hear of such incidents taking place in a first-class match. You can work with those umpires who are genuinely making an effort to improve and who have a passion for the game. Umpires who are on the phone in the middle of a game or fail to catch six no-balls in an over should be banned. Allowing them to officiate the game is like leaving termites on a piece of furniture - the end result is destruction.

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  • Miten on January 14, 2009, 18:48 GMT

    It's shocking to hear of such incidents taking place in a first-class match. You can work with those umpires who are genuinely making an effort to improve and who have a passion for the game. Umpires who are on the phone in the middle of a game or fail to catch six no-balls in an over should be banned. Allowing them to officiate the game is like leaving termites on a piece of furniture - the end result is destruction.

  • Shefali on January 14, 2009, 19:00 GMT

    Hello Aakash, Good luck with the book. I've heard that sometimes umpires have made decisions more on the players reputation than on the merit of the ball. For example you said above Jaffer and Zaheer Khan- Jaffer an Indian cricketer and arguably one of the top domestic batsmen and I dont have to say anything about Zaheer. Rahne who one would say? Its important that the umpires are qualified and make an effort to make the right decisions, for the good of the game in India and may be try and get on the elite pannel( for their own good). Speaking on the phone is unaccaptable, they should be banned for life. The below standard and undefqualified umpires are wasting their time and spoiling the careers of young cricketeres.

  • Sidhanta Patnaik on January 14, 2009, 19:54 GMT

    I remember one incident in Guwahati when Jadeja had nicked the ball to the Srilankan wicketkeeper, the umpire raised his hand and then in an after thought scratched his head. Jadeja went on to score a good 50+ score. That is the image that comes to my mind on reading this article

  • Shaqib on January 14, 2009, 21:52 GMT

    Hey Aakash, This was well written - As a cricketer, I completely feel your emotions as I have similar feelings towards umpires, especially those who just are there for the sake of being there. Whether it be an umpire or player, I think it is a slow death for any sport if all correct intentions are not present. It is great to hear that BCCI is taking such steps as we really need to get quality Indian umpires to the elite level. Indian or non-Indian, the sport will greatly benefit from continous improvements in all aspects. We currently have great umpires who err very little if even such as Simon Taufel (I think he has set a precedent in modern umpiring) and we need to continue this breed of umpires. Very little people know the work that he personally puts in before actually standing in any match. All in all, we hope umpiring standards and cricket in general will be on rise as we see in these modern times.

    Cheers, Shaqib

    PS. Good luck with yuor book!

  • Sundar on January 14, 2009, 22:25 GMT

    Oh Man, yet another whining article from you, Come on Akash, spare us. When was the last time you wrote an article on anything positive in indian cricket.

  • Rohit Paliwal on January 14, 2009, 23:11 GMT

    Akash, I haven't seen enough domestic games on TV to comment on what has been pervasive and what's not. However, if we tabulate the contentious decisions in this Ranji Final (either those adjudged not out when they were or those that weren't adjudged out when they were), UP has really been at the wrong end of the stick here. Come to think of it, both Rohit and Nayar were fortunate to avoid two straightforward LBW appeals. These two accounted for more than 2/3rd of Mumbai's score in first innings. Kaif and Shulka on the other hand were both adjudged out when either they were clearly not or in one case, should have benefited from doubt. Both of these guys accounted for almost 1/2 of UP's first innings score. Shouldn't umpires try and neutralize their bad decisions ex-post (i.e. when they are in knowledge of the fact that they committed a mistake). Instead, UP continued to be at the receiving end. Umpires should realize how their decisions can change games, which is so true here.

  • Varun Srivastava on January 15, 2009, 1:08 GMT

    Hi Akash, I am a level 3 Umpire in Wellington, New Zealand and I believe there are some things which are out of my control. For example, if a left arm spinner is in operation bowling over the wicket to a right handed batsman with silly mid-off n silly mid-on, 2 slips, gully n a leg slip, fisrtly it is very difficult to make bat-pad decision and also it is difficult to give LBW with that angle but there are lot of instances where ball straightens up and we are caught in two minds. Being an umpire is equally tough as being a player, but if a player commits a mistake he has time to rectify it but when we commit mistake by giving someone LBW or caught, there is no time to rectify it until the next match.

  • naastik on January 15, 2009, 1:28 GMT

    Do the umpires in first class matches get a contract with BCCI? If they are not actually professional umpires, is it even fair to expect professionalism from them in the modern version of the game? Just asking ...

  • Chetan on January 15, 2009, 3:04 GMT

    Its Shocking to know about Umpire, speaking on his mobile. Well, i am completely agree with you, human element involved in judging LBW, even No balls and run outs in some cases, but irresponsible behavior on field is not acceptable. Bolwers delivers beamers, Fielder split catches they are errors as well, Only difference is players are allowed commit errors while umpires are for identify those errors. Well, as you mentioned BCCI's actions to improve umpiring standards, hope so, it will help in future.

  • ravi on January 15, 2009, 3:58 GMT

    hai akash.. nise article but it would be more apprieciatable if it had some positives in it u are just pointing out the mistakes but there were some good decisions as well..i do accept how it feels when u r reciving end but once we step in those shoes we know what it is,,as a player u know how much hard work u have put in to reach this level.. the same way the umpires whom u r talking about put in to be at that level..i do accept there are umpires of kind whom u talked about but dont blame entire fertinity...as varun said its the split second for an umpire to give his opinun and he doesnot get second chance tto change it...by the way pls let me know the book name so that i can get it