No. 40 April 16, 2011

Neutral umpires

They made their first appearance when a Pakistan captain invited two Indian umpires to stand in a Test against West Indies
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Did the world become a happier place after neutral umpires came in? © Associated Press

1992

Cricket's first decisive step towards quelling the age-old accusations that had dogged home umpiring came on November 7, 1986, when Indian umpires VK Ramaswamy and Piloo Reporter stood in a Test against West Indies in Lahore.

The move was masterminded by Imran Khan, who was sick of the carping after every series in Pakistan, and he furthered the idea by inviting John Hampshire and John Holder (both from England) for the home series against India in 1989-90.

The ICC soon realised it was the way forward. One neutral umpire per Test was appointed on an experimental basis in 1992, and the system was adopted two years later. The natural progression to two neutrals was made in 2002, starting with India's tour of the West Indies.

As a result, umpires became the most travelled members of the cricket community, and were no longer charged with partisanship. But the irony is this: home teams have fared better since the introduction of a neutral umpire, with a win-loss ratio of 1.57:1 compared to 1.43:1 before.

S Rajesh is stats editor of ESPNcricinfo. This article was first published in Wisden Asia Cricket magazine in 2003

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • teamxxx on April 19, 2011, 11:03 GMT

    well in my opinion,The great Imran Khan has given the world of cricket so many things, like(playing wasim,waqar,mushtaq,saeed anwar,inzamam and aaqib with a little experience of first class),reverse swing utilisation on sub continent tracks,attacking approach as a captain(to attack with your strengths) and then the invention of neutral umpiring has given the cricket fans a trust,a trust of fair game.even the standard of umpiring has improved a lot.which is a good sign for cricket.Thank You Imran Khan for your services.

  • Meety on April 18, 2011, 2:24 GMT

    Trust Imran to push thru something like that. He truly is one of the great players to be greater then his sporting achievements.

  • vknair on April 17, 2011, 23:29 GMT

    Had thought that umpires didnt have statistics "except Steve Bucknor vs. India". Some posts on this being a great move by Imran Khan - agree whole-heartedly.

  • cric_fanatics on April 17, 2011, 18:58 GMT

    @chaudhary khuram...people who play test matches on abu dhabi highways for the sake of a draw shouldn't make such absurd comments...

  • cric_fanatics on April 17, 2011, 18:56 GMT

    @anand...auss were a great team mate..and still they are a decent team...udrs or not...but yeah on some occasions ricky takes up the responsibility of the udrs on himself...:)

  • bonaku on April 17, 2011, 17:50 GMT

    Cool stat rajesh !!!! Never thought of this. But that was a brilliant move.

  • happycric on April 17, 2011, 17:41 GMT

    @maverick26 - you are comparing smallest ground in India with biggest ground in australia. It is not fair. I believe MCG is one of the biggest cricket ground in the world.

  • maverick26 on April 17, 2011, 8:55 GMT

    @ satish619chandar: having flat tracks which dont hve anything for the bowlers and boundaries with lightning fast outfields at 60-65m as compared to 90m in MCG. Isnt that an home advantage?

  • manish053 on April 17, 2011, 7:28 GMT

    it was good move and from there cricket umpiring entered in a new era where a man stood alone in ground get new respected image and also got new approtunities.Going ahead this move has curtailed power of men stood in ground and now he is only to stood in ground has to follow person sitting in pavilion called third umpire. I would be happy if S. rajesh get something by comparison DRS in order to see how much umpire's decision stands after applying DRS by players. Standing natural umpiring was good move to avoid quilling issues in and outside the ground and umpires begin to get more approtunties in internatinal cricket where technique shrinked the umpire's power as well and also may be said that it reduced respect of man stood in ground among players in some extent however referee deter this thing.

  • dummy4fb on April 17, 2011, 6:02 GMT

    You can be biased as you like but one cannot deny the fact that Pakistan has brought a lot of good changes in Cricket.Much more than any other cricketing nation.Whether we talk about invention of reverse swing by Sarfaraz,the doosra by Saqlain,the reverse sweep by Miandad,the Introduction of One day tactics of saving wickets and slogging in the last overs by the great Imran,the trend of utilizing the fielding restrictions of the first 15 overs by Saeed Anwar.Each time Pakistan has come up with a change that has had a big impact on the way cricket is played and cricket should be thankful and proud to have such a great nation that has given the game so much.

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