October 2, 2009


Gentlemen, let's break for tea ... and sandwiches

Nishi Narayanan
Umpires Tony Hill, Amiesh Saheba and Mark Benson inspect the wet outfield, New Zealand v West Indies, 1st Test, Dunedin, 2nd day, December 12, 2008
 © Getty Images

An umpire’s life is tough: they stand for hours watching ball after ball, are subjected to withering stares by players when appeals are turned down or upheld, criticised for bad decisions but not praised for any good ones and now face the indignity of technology. But what seems to be the unkindest cut of all is the miserly duration of the tea break, a grouse first-class umpires in England plan to raise before the ECB. Umpires, they will point out, are the last to leave the ground at a session break and first to return at resumption of play so they don’t get enough time to put their feet up, sip that Earl Grey and munch on soggy cucumber sandwiches.

Jack Simmons, the chairman of ECB’s cricket committee, said extending the break by ten minutes would not be a problem. “The umpires have never asked for anything in the past to my knowledge and I am aware that they have less time off the field than the players,” Simmons told The Times. “Extending the intervals by five or ten minutes would not go amiss and it would also suit the county chief executives, as spectators would have more time to eat at their bars and restaurants and be less inclined to bring sandwiches.”

Nishi Narayanan is a staff writer at ESPNcricinfo

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