December 18, 2009

Umpires

Breaking new ground in umpiring

Siddhartha Talya

Once a male bastion, cricket today has made rapid strides in the women’s game, though one aspect of it still remains, perhaps not necessarily intended that way, an exclusive preserve of men – Umpiring. But that too is changing. On Thursday, Shah Praveen Kausar became the first woman from Pakistan to umpire in a competitive game in England. Kausar stood as a field umpire in the Saddleworth and District Cricket League game between Shaw and Friamere Second XI at Holebottom Clough.

Apart from the ease and authority she displayed in her role, her presence on the field also drew courtesy from the players, sparing her umpiring partner the verbal assault he was generally accustomed to hear. “The players were a bit surprised, but they were very courteous towards her and there was no bad language — not even directed at me which was unusual,” Peter Lilley, her co-umpire, told the Oldham Evening Chronicle.

“Shah did very well. She was very competent in everything she did and I think she enjoyed herself,” Lilley said. “She didn’t just stand at square leg, she did a full job.”

Kausar, 50, has umpired both men’s and women’s games in Pakistan. She is expected to umpire a full season in England next year.

Siddhartha Talya is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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