Umpires are under tremendous pressure due to technological interventions and due to the popularity of franchise cricket, says former ICC Elite Panel umpire Simon Taufel.
“Fear, lack of courage, resilience, confidence and self-belief, are the biggest challenges umpires are facing. We are the ones who are under immense scrutiny in this modern-day broadcasting. It is expected of an umpire to be perfect which is not humanly possible and with the emergence of franchise cricket, extra pressure has come onto umpires,” said Taufel, who was in Delhi to launch his first book titled Finding The Gaps.
He said that the solution to the pressure faced by umpires’ could be having the right attitude towards adopting the technology.
“Cricket’s embrace of technology has been echoed by other sports as well, where match officials have also found themselves under growing scrutiny.
“When you compete with those 30-odd cameras, the ball-tracker, Snicko, Hot Spot, the three experts in the commentary position, there are times when you don’t deliver perfection,” said Taufel, who quit from umpiring duties after a 20-year career.
Taufel was also hopeful about the upcoming day-night Test match between India and Bangladesh getting more interest in this format of the game. But he cautioned that it’s too early to believe that day-night Tests are the solution to filling more seats at matches.
“It will be fascinating to see how the players will respond, how the players will respond. But I would also add that this is not the only solution of all the problems with Test cricket. We need to continuously promote, advance, make it (Test cricket) more attractive and entertaining to people,” the former umpire said.
Known for his proficiency and fitness, Taufel was named umpire of the year for five straight seasons between 2004 to 2008 by the International Cricket Council (ICC). Asked about the BCCI’s decision to deploy an extra umpire just to spot no-balls in IPL, Taufel said,” I am in favour of experiments in the game given the authorities make no hasty changes.”
“I would encourage people to not necessarily make emotional reactions because of one or two incidents. And make sure that we are making a change that is adding value rather than searching for perfection that we really know doesn’t exist,” he said.
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