Nairobi was to see out the umpiring courses for the year when it hosted the final umpiring event at Ruaraka last weekend. The course itself attracted 15 candidates from the various institutions within Nairobi province and by and large new entrants as far as the learning of umpiring is concerned.
The two-day course aimed to arm the soon to be practising umpires with the necessary skills needed on the field of play to not only apply the strict laws of the game but to also allow them to manage the game in the best possible way an individual can.
The first day tackled the practical techniques required on the field as well as their application. The different measurements of the all the creases that apply to the game were covered including the bowling, popping and return creases. These measurements are crucial in applying the relevant sections of the laws that deal with bowlers feet placing and batsmen completing runs correctly or being adjudged stumped or run out based on their positions at the instant of the breaking of the stumps.
The square and its restrictions were also covered. The differentiation of the square to the actual playing pitch and the adjacent pitches were explained in conjunction with Law 17 that restricts the use of certain sections before and during a match.
Other than the square, other sections of the field techniques dealing with the sightscreens and their placing, the boundary markings and how to make judgements on when the ball is deemed to have crossed the boundary were also expounded. Obstacles within the field and unauthorised personnel coming into contact with a ball on the field were discussed.
An umpire’s stance and movements while on the field did present the most discussions. Key to this is the fact that an umpire needs to be able to see any action upon which their decision may be required. The movements then have to be in tandem with the requirements of the law and the one that presented a great deal of challenge to the participants was the situations dealing with the runner being on the field which requires the umpire to move in different directions to the norm.
At the conclusion of the two-day course the candidates were able to make judgements on the various aspects of umpiring but still have some way to go before they can confidently stake a claim at the job in the middle. A few of them that have the background of the game will be better placed in terms of understanding the different facets of the game while those that lack the background on the game will rely heavily on the further involvements in watching and acquiring the essential skills required by the game.
Several points were also explained within the training manual that the attendants can use as reference material and even importantly they included illustrations on some finer sections that required further explanations.