Madugalle reaches new milestone
The Super Eights match between England and Ireland at Guyana was a landmark for Ranjan Madugalle, who completed 200 ODIs as a ICC match referee. Madugalle, the former Sri Lankan batsman, made his debut as a match referee in a ODI at Karachi in 1993 between Pakistan and Zimbabwe.
"It's always good to reach a landmark," said Madugalle. "I would still look at it as another one-day international but, yes, when I look back and reflect on the journey I feel that it's something I enjoyed and will continue to enjoy."
Madugalle needs another six matches to complete a century of Tests as a match referee. He played 21 Tests and 63 one-day internationals until 1988 and also led his country in two Tests. He felt that playing the game was an honour but acting as a referee was a great test.
"There's no substitute for playing for your country, it is the single greatest honour. I'm also enjoying my current role and do it with a passion," said Madugalle, who became a chief referee in 2001.
Madugalle disagreed that the implementation of the code of conduct and the match referee's role means that the ICC is policing the game.
"I think that when the match referee was introduced it was for the role of disciplining the players, but that actually was just one aspect of the job," said Madugalle. "The role also deals with players' safety, creates safety standards and, more importantly, deals with the umpires. We like to think that the referees have played a role in standardising certain aspects of the game. No role is constant so it is evolving and we will also start moving towards changes."
Without doubt, he rates The Oval controversy, when Pakistan forfeited the final Test against England in a row over alleged ball-tampering, as the single most difficult case he has handled. Inzamam-ul-Haq, the Pakistan captain, refused to take the field after tea on fourth day against England after umpires Darrell Hair and Billy Doctrove charged Pakistan with ball tampering.
"Before that incident the game had not seen a forfeiture," said Madugalle. "I was not the referee but I had to officiate at the hearing and it was the single most difficult case."
The ICC conducted an inquiry through Madugalle, who cleared Inzamam of all ball-tampering charges but banned him for four one-day matches for bringing the game into disrepute.