Hyderabad: Ivaturi Shivram, who was a member of the BCCI Umpires Committee, feels that India should have more than one umpire in the ICC Elite Panel. “Indian umpires are good but they lack support. I didn’t find anything wrong with Shamsuddin or Anil Choudhury in their matches. Yes, umpires do make mistakes but that doesn’t mean they are bad. The BCCI should take up their case strongly with ICC. Our umpires only get either under-19 or Women’s World Cup but not beyond that. There is a need to give opportunities to the Indian umpires,” he said.
He was commenting after Nitin Menon became the third Indian after S Venkataraghavan and S Ravi, to be nominated to the ICC Elite Panel on Monday. “As an umpire Menon has been rated highly. He is consistent and has been doing a very competent job. He handles the pressure very well and deserves a place in the ICC Elite panel.”
Shivram, who stood in nine ODI games between 1994 and 2002, continued that it is unfortunate that there is a lot of negative talk about Indian umpires. “The domestic umpires are talked very poorly. But the match referees, who assess the umpires now as there are no review committees, rated these officials very highly. And that means we have abundant talent. If the umpires are not good then either the assessment is wrong or the system is wrong.”
The 66-year-old cited the case of Anil Dandekar, who topped the table for three successive years but somehow there was no committee to take up his case. “He is unfortunate to miss the bus as of now. We have couple of umpires like Dandekar, Ananth Padmanabhan, Yeshwant Barde, who can the make the grade provided they are encouraged properly or given opportunities.”
The former international umpire said thanks to Covid-19, the home umpires will get opportunities in the Test series against England in 2021 as there will be no neutral officials. “Nitin Menon will be there as an Elite umpire, Anil Choudhary and Shamsuddin will get an opportunity to stand in Test cricket. I’m hoping these umpires will utilise the opportunities to showcase their talent. For instance in the coming England series in England, the home umpires will officiate against the West Indies.”
Shivram moans the lack of planning to groom umpires in the country. “There are about 40 umpires who officiate in Ranji Trophy. A few talented youngsters need to be pushed and given opportunity in higher grade matches.”
He pointed out that BCCI need to look into the development of junior umpires. “We need to have a proper plan to nurture young talent. In recent times a few promising youngsters have opted umpiring as their professional career. Unfortunately, for the last few years, there are no coaches for the umpires. How will the young umpires learn from the mistakes? At least 70 per cent of the umpires are under the age of 35 to 40 years and they need guidance since they will be serving the BCCI in the next 15 to 20 years.”
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