One year as an elite umpire February 25, 2007

Doctrove reflects on eventful year

Haydn Gill

Billy Doctrove: the other umpire during The Oval Test © Getty Images
Billy Doctrove is looking back on his first 12 months as a member of the ICC's elite panel of umpires as a year of achievement.

Doctrove, 51, came under the microscope in August for his involvement with Australian umpire Darrell Hair in a Test match at The Oval in London when Pakistan were penalised for ball-tampering.

It was the one negative in what Doctrove considers to be a year of many positives. "It has been a very interesting first year, very challenging, but I can look back at it and say that I've been very satisfied with my performances," he told Sunsport yesterday prior to the start of the third day of the Carib Beer Challenge Final at Guaracara Park.

"I've done very well. The reports from the captains and the match referees have been good."

After the Oval Test in which Pakistan refused to continue, and which was subsequently awarded to England, Hair was relieved of his duties on the elite panel and Doctrove wasn't among the eight umpires selected for the ICC Champions Trophy in October and November.

Since then, however, he has resumed duties in the middle. "A lot of attention was placed on me with the Oval Test match. Although it was a negative at the time, I look back at it as a learning experience.

"I learnt a lot from that episode both personally and professionally. I've become not only a better umpire, but a better person. I've learnt about myself, about how to react under different situations."

As far as he is concerned, the Oval script is a closed chapter. "I'm generally a positive person and any negative thing that comes my way, I always try to turn it into a positive," he said.

"That's what I'm doing with this one and I'm hoping that it is history, as far as I'm concerned. You never know when those things can come back up, but I'm hoping it is behind me."

In his first year as an elite umpire, he stood in four Tests and 15 ODIs. While we've heard extensively on the Oval scenario, the positive stories have been in the background.

"The players and match referees have been very complimentary about my performances," Doctrove said. "Most of my games have been away from the West Indies. This is the first time that I've had that concentration of games outside of the West Indies. I've learnt a lot from that. There are many more plusses than minuses during my first year as an elite umpire."

He said there were instances when a player might have felt aggrieved by a decision against him, but later, that same player would come to him and tell him he got it right.

"You always get those things. You get guys who are not happy at the particular time, but when they get a chance to look back at the replay or get a consensus from the coaching staff, they have a change of mind.

"Some of them who are big enough will come and tell you that they were happy with the decision. The technology can work both ways."

For the forthcoming World Cup in the Caribbean, Doctrove has been assigned to warm-up games in St Vincent and group stage matches in St Lucia. Appointments for the Super Eight stage will be made after the first phase of the tournament.

His current contract with ICC expires at the end of March; and he is optimistic that he will be maintained on the elite panel. "I'm hoping that I can get an extension. That will depend entirely on the officials of ICC.

"Based on my performances, I have no doubt in my mind that I warrant an extension. I'll leave it in the hands of the officials. Whatever they decide, I'll go along with."