Umpiring: The Raw End of the Deal

Rohini IyerSenior Writer IMarch 16, 2009

In a cricket field, a job that requires more patience, concentration, and hard work is that of the umpires and still, they don't get full house compliments. Why? Because in any case, either of the two parties will always be unhappy.

There is so much at stake: Be impartial, keep your temper in check, and most of all, see to it that the errors are almost minimal. But does it always happen? Are umpires always successful in doing what they do or do we as fans give them the benefit of the doubt if they fail?

"I hate the guts of the umpire who ruled Sachin out yesterday. Sachin was playing so beautifully. That umpire is biased towards the other team. He should be sacked. Who gave him the right to become an umpire?"

This is a normal scene among Indian fans when Sachin, who invariably ends up being the prize target of wrong umpiring.

But it's not only about Sachin Tendulkar. It's about every team and every player who might have gone through this. Each and every fan from that country would have wanted to go and massacre the poor man.

As fans we won't get revenge until we spill an outburst like this. But hey, wait a minute, what about the guy who made us feel so spiteful in the first place. What about his emotions?

Would he be gloating after the match like a sadist thinking, "I made this team lose, I am the best" or will his mind be filled with guilt that "Oh how could I do this. It was so unjustified. After days and years of practice as an umpire how could I fail to spot this. Am I worth being an umpire?"

We will never know. We care only about our favourites and their potential records "If such a thing wouldn't have happened" but we never care about the men who are responsible for some order and discipline out there.

Turning judgemental, we start deciding for ourselves. For example; Steve Bucknor is an umpire every patriotic Indian fan will love to pounce on thanks to the Sydney test. At the same time every Indian cricket fan will embrace Billy Bowden as a Godly soul.

Such is the reputation of these two.

Every country, every fan has preferences. David Shepherd was a respected figure all across while the name of Darrell Hair enough to raise the hair on every Pakistani cricket fan's body.

Third umpires, referrals and any technology that can be developed is being used to ease their problem, though somehow it ends up increasing and doubling it; after so much of R and D, there is a threat to their position altogether to say the least.

And given the rate at which cricket is evolving, it won't be unusual if the future generations watch the game minus the two formal, hat wearing humans standing on the field.

So its better if we just cut them a bit of slack, understand and get used to the fact that at the end of the day, they are just normal human beings like us who can make mistakes here and there.

They are not doing it out of any personal vindictiveness and on any given day: All's fair in love, game and war, isn't it?