India news August 5, 2014

BCCI overlooks umpires academy in Nagpur

Thanks to the fallout between the current BCCI regime and the Vidarbha Cricket Association, the home turf of former BCCI president Shashank Manohar, the BCCI Umpires Academy in Nagpur is on the cusp of ending up as a dormant facility.

The academy that was established in 2010 with an objective to provide a wholesome training exercise for domestic umpires to raise their standards hasn't seen any activity for almost a year. That, however, doesn't mean the BCCI is ignoring the umpires' wing.

Over the last year, all the umpires' activities have moved to the National Cricket Academy campus in Bangalore. In fact, the retired Simon Taufel, the most consistent international umpire over the last decade, will conduct a 15-day umpires' workshop in Bangalore from Wednesday.

The VCA officials and a few BCCI members admit that the sudden switch from Nagpur is following Manohar's vocal dissent against N Srinivasan in the aftermath of last year's IPL corruption scandal. The BCCI, however, has a different take.

A BCCI insider revealed that moving umpires' developmental activities from Nagpur to Bangalore is in line with the BCCI's plan to bring all its specialist academies under the NCA umbrella. A BCCI office bearer seconded it but refused to speak on record since the proposal is "yet to be ratified by the working committee".

Despite the reorganisation of the academies, the feud between Manohar and N Srinivasan cannot be overlooked. Interestingly, the alternate venue of Bangalore makes the intra-BCCI political undercurrents even more visible. Karnataka State Cricket Association secretary Brijesh Patel, a Srinivasan aide, is one of the aspirants for the BCCI secretary's post in next month's elections.

Meanwhile, during its two-week umpiring seminar, the BCCI will conduct a crash course in verbal English communication for domestic umpires and match referees for the first time. The BCCI has noticed that lack of communicating properly with players and other officials has gone against Indian officials at the international level. As a result, Taufel has roped in British Council to improve basic English communication. The course is expected to be held over four to five sessions during the seminar.

The BCCI is also in talks with British Council to conduct such crash courses frequently in order to bridge the gap between officials and the players.

Amol Karhadkar is a correspondent at ESPNcricinfo