Indian umps must get into better shape

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 07 May 2017 09:56:40

T HE West Indies win in the second Test was a totally unexpected one. Or was it? Pakistan have shown a tendency to implode in the second innings after posting a healthy total in the first innings and taking a lead too. They did it again and lost the second Test to allow West Indies to level the series.

Their skipper Misbah-ul Haq must be livid with his team and also himself. He missed out on another Test century when he got out on 99. He had been left stranded on 99 in the first Test when the last mangotoutbutovertherehehad only himself to blame since he should have framed the strike better and retained the strike. Be that as it may the win will be a shot in the arm for theWest Indies who have shown signs of improvement but need a bit of consistency to be a real force again.

The IPL is once again living up to its motto of talent meets opportunity as plenty of youngsters have shown what they are capable with both bat and ball. While clearly it’s too early to make any predictions some will be in the frame for India sooner rather than later. What’s been impressive about the batting displays is how most of the big hits that we have seeninthe tournament have come presenting the straight bat rather than the crude slogs which are more often the norm in limited overs cricket.

Sure the boundaries could be extended a bit,actually more than a bit but till the ground authorities realise that it’s a game not just for batsmen but also for the bowlers the boundaries won’t be extended. There is plenty of room to extend the boundaries and make it a little bit easier forthe bowlers but is there a will to do that even at the ICC level. Go to any ground in the world and you will find that the advertising boards are brought in a good ten metres from the boundary fence.

Then comes the boundary rope with its advertising cones which is another five metres inside the advertising boards so in fact the actual length of the boundaries are brought in by as much as 15 metres at most if not all grounds. When I was in the Cricket Committee of the ICC I had suggested that the bottom half of the advertising could be made of foam so that a fielder doing the diving sliding stop does not crash into the metal boundary fence and injure him self badly. Now there is LED electronic advertising boards so it maybe a little difficult to have the bottom half of the board made of foam but surely the actual boundary can be increased and the field made a bit more level for the bowlerstoo.

Mind you having said that nottoo many sixes have just sailed over the boundary and fallen short of the metal fence but haveg one beyond the metal fence showing how powerful most of the hits have been. Still bowlers would appreciate any lengthening of the boundaries so that sixes will not be as regular as they are now.

The Indian umpires have come in for a fair bit of criticism for their decisions in the IPL butthat’sone of the hazards of the job. The good decision sare seldom spoken about and glossed over as if it’s is expected and the bad ones are those that stay in the mind and public consciousness. Thesameis the case with wicket keeping where one dropped catch or missed stumping is remembered far more than the brilliant ones taken.

What the Indian umpires will have to do howeveristo look after their physical fitness. Just about every single Indian umpire on duty at the IPL has a belly that enters the ground before the rest of the body does and that’s not a good sight. Not that some of the overseas umpiresareslimandtrimbutthey get into positions for run-outs quicker than most Indian umpires do.

Soabit of introspection and hard work during theoff-season will definitely help Indian umpires to get into better shape which will not only help them get into positions for decisions quickly but also help them keep their concentration going longer. (