Being a cricket umpire isn’t just about taking good cricketing decisions on the field but also about being efficient in dealing with the players, an ability that requires the umpires to possess a good command over the English language.
To facilitate the need, the Indian cricket board has entered into a tie up with the British Council of India.
As part of the umpire development program, the BCCI has decided to host an English language upskilling course, which will be conducted for the first batch of 20 umpires by Richard John Cox, a trainer from the British Council from 23rd July.
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The 10-day course has been designed by the International Cricket Council along with the British Council and will be held at the BCCI headquarters in Mumbai.
On June 4 2015, after an 11-year wait, S Ravi became the first Indian after S Venkataragavan to be inducted in the ICC Elite Panel of Umpires, an achievement that has motivated the Indian cricket board to expand the talent pool.
Last year, the BCCI had held their first-ever exams for match referees, conducted by the well-known former Australian umpire Simon Taufel. Incidentally, out of 129 applicants only 50 passed that exam and well-known associations like the Mumbai Cricket Association saw all their aspirants fail.
In written exams for 100 marks, referees were asked about the level of charges imposed on players. They were given instances of well known games and were asked what charges would they have applied in that particular situation.
There were questions on laws of the game and playing conditions and also on umpire evaluation and venue inspection. In another seminar, Taufel did a mock-demo of chucking and asked referees to write their views on it.
And there were sessions on report writing where umpires had to submit reports of each game they covered.
Mr. Anurag Thakur, Honorary Secretary of BCCI, talked up the new initiative of helping umpires improve their English.
“This is important in the overall development of our umpires and will go a long way in ensuring that the players and the umpires will understand each other and build a healthy relationship. Mr. S. Ravi’s induction in the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) Elite Panel of Umpires has encouraged us to expand our talent pool. This will not only help the umpires in brushing up their communication skills but will augur well to reach a common understanding in all aspects. There will be an initial assessment of each of the participant before the course starts and another one at the end of the year to measure the success of the programme.”