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Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Umpires in Cricket and the one banned in Vatican over fears ....

Do you know or connect :  (Maninder Singh, Kumara Dharmasena, Srinivasan Venkatraghavan, Peter Willey, Paul Reiffel,  Richard Illingworth ) …. Or - Madhav Gothoskar; Arani Jayaprakash; Swaroop Kishen; M. V. Nagendra; VK Ramaswamy; Judah Reuben; B Satyaji Rao; Mysore Vijayasarathi …. 

In case you are wondering! – here is more, International names this time : Ashoka De silva;  Dickie Bird; Billy Bowden; Steve Bucknor; Aleem Dar; Darrell Hair; Daryl Harper; Rudi Koertzen; David Shepherd; Simon Taufel …………………….. 

not an exhaustive list of the Gentlemen in the middle with white coats with authority to decide – the finger going up, signalling or ordering the batsmen to trudge back towards the pavilion.  The first list in bracket is Umpires who have earlier played Cricket at National level …


For the uninformed, on the field of play, there are two umpires officiating a match. One umpire stands behind the stumps at the bowler's end of the pitch, while the other umpire stands at square leg. The concept of Third Umpire is relatively recent one.   The umpire at the bowler's end makes decisions on lbw appeals, no balls (overstepping), wides and leg byes.  The square leg umpire will judge stumpings and run outs and no balls (over waist high) … after each over,  the umpires change position.  Umpire has an exalted status and his ruling is final – though there is referral, in some cases.  In modern times, their decisions are subject to criticism with many calling for increased usage of technology. 

The Third Umpire debuted in Test Cricket in Nov 1992 at Kingsmead, Durban and Sachin Tendulkar became the first batsman to be dismissed (run out) by using TV replays.  In July 2008, Tillakaratne Dilshan became the first player to successfully appeal against an umpiring decision.

Umpires are generally respected in the gentlemen’s game ….. in July 2013  in England an Umpire aged 70 was  assaulted and pushed to ground in car park after refusing to give batsman out in heated match - Neal Manning suffered grazes to his leg, arm and shoulder in Suffolk. Ipswich’s fourth team had gone to nearby Stradbroke in Suffolk to play their team in an eighth division club match. As it happens in so many local matches – there was no umpire so the players decided to take turns when not at the crease. When 70-year-old player Neal Manning called a batsman on his team ‘not out’, the game turned hostile. After his team went onto win the game, he claims players from the other team, the Stradbroke Vikings, attacked him in the car park. He was confronted by players from the losing team, who accused him of cheating for his side. Stradbroke is a small village with a population of around 1,500. It is around 25 miles north of Ipswich.

Here is something more interesting reported in Daily Mail in Sept 14.  The news mentions of  an Umpire being banned from cricket match at the Vatican over fears he 'might be biased' because his great-great grandfather was an Anglican bishop.  Michael Claughton, 65, was told he 'could not be considered' because organisers wanted a 'theologically neutral' umpire such as an atheist.

The member of Bethersden Cricket Club, Kent, said he was baffled when told he was 'unsuitable' for the match because his is related to Thomas Claughton, a former Bishop of Rochester and St Albans. A startled Claughton is reported as exclaiming – ‘This is church bureaucracy gone mad. They said to me - we'll probably be looking for a Methodist or an atheist.’ 'It's amazing really, I thought they would be glad to have my services, but they said I might be considered biased against the Catholics.' The Rev Claughton was made bishop of Rochester in 1867 and of St Albans in 1877.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

7th Oct 2014.

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