Umpiring courses have been coming thick and fast during this period across the country but that is due to the fact that the cricket session has just commenced or is just about to commence in most of the regions that run their usual cricket leagues in Kenya and this one in Mombasa brought together 10 participants from the teaching and cricketing fraternity.
Nearly the whole group of participants to this course had gone through the umpire introductory phase and were using this gathering as an opportunity to step up their knowledge on the game with the remainder of the laws and make the crucial jump to a more recognisable level.
Much of the challenge still lies ahead in the field, but this lot of novice umpires can stake claim that they have been armed with the necessary information to begin their aspirations on the umpiring front.
They used the opening day of the two-day program to understand the laws of the game that mostly deal with the longer version matches, the pitch and its preparations, the maintenance of the playing area and their responsibility as umpires in ensuring that play does take place on suitable and acceptable conditions.
Laws that were dealt with over the two days also covered sections that tackle the specifications on the cricket implements, taking account of the sizes of balls, length and widths of bats, heights of stumps, measurements of creases and similar sections that consist of junior cricket requirements.
Of course, the laws will take some time to fully understand in their entirety which is in itself a requirement, as their application and interpretations certainly needs to be 100% in as far as taking decisions on the field is concerned.
Umpiring decisions carry significant effects on matches and henceforth have to be well thought of before they are executed and therefore the needs to have an in depth look at each and every one of them. There is nothing certain in the occurrences on the field of play, and the new recruits were well instructed to ensure that each and every delivery received their full attention to ensure that they make sound judgements based on facts before them.
In current times umpires have been in charge of not just decisions on the field but other matters affecting the outcome of matches such as the rain, bad light, fitness of ground and slow over rates. In a quest do address some of these features especially the interruptions that affect the one-day encounters, the Duckworth-Lewis method of calculating the revised scores and determining the results of matches that become victims of weather conditions were covered as part of the learning process.
Kutub Gulamabbas – a member of the Associates and Affiliates umpires’ panel for Africa, took the time to make a valuable 90-minute presentation on his speciality ‘the D/L method’. He covered both the standard and professional editions of the system and answered relevant questions while giving examples from previous matches. Ultimately, the attendees took a test on the laws where they performed slightly above average.