We all want to be a fast bowler, we all want to be a famous batsman, a great fielder or a keeper batsman like Dhoni but have we heard about anyone wanting to become a umpire? Yes this understated profession without which the game is incomplete is slowly slowly turning into a rare breed where in India there has been acute shortage of umpire and referees.
Just like what a teacher is to the school, a priest is to the church, a cricket umpire is as respected on the field in a cricket match. They stand on the field for equal hours as players, they have to be sharp like a fox, unbiased like a judge in the court and their decisions are so important that it influences directly or indirectly the result of the game.
Also Umpires command respect, players can’t utter a word against them, if they do, they are penalized, there are rules and codes to follow in the game which umpires makes sure are properly followed, you need to be qualified with the BCCI examinations to officiate in domestic, national and International level matches. Its a respected profession infamous amongst the youngsters and such is the shortage now of umpires that there are only 97 umpires and 54 match referees available to officiate in the domestic matches where in BCCI is about to host as many as 2000+ games with many days where there would be more than 60 matches a day all over India. And as per the requirement atleast the double the number of umpires and referees are required to fulfill that slot.
Just alone in the upcoming Duleep Trophy there will be as many as 120+ umpires needed but BCCI is in dilemma!
The supreme court has to bring some changes, it has to add more states from north east and should make them a part of the domestic circuit (a part of BCCI), this will result in not only more cricket being encouraged for the north east population but also increase in the number of umpires.
If not as much as players atleast Umpires should also be paid healthily and the profession should be promoted by the BCCI in India.
The exams and the procedures to become a BCCI level umpire should be more accessible for the normal cricket public and should be encouraged with perks to increase the dwindling population.
There has to be proper updates, notifications and press releases for the courses of Umpiring, the examinations and equal social media coverage must be given as much is given to the sport.
Or else just like Parsis who are merely left in hundreds in Mumbai and not more than a few thousands all over India, Umpires will soon become extinct and the sport of cricket which is a gentlemen’s game will have to rely not on gentleman but on technology to officiate the games which will definately reduce the charm of cricket.
– Haineel Shah
Editor Haineel Shah