Taufel Calls on More ‘Investment’ to Ensure Indian Umpires Make Elite Panel Cut
Five time ICC umpire of the year Simon Taufel has suggested India needs to consider making greater investments in order to have more representation on the elite panel of umpires. India doesn’t have a single representative on the panel currently after S Ravi lost his position earlier this year due to “below par performance”.
Of the 12 elite umpires on the ICC panel at the moment, four are English, three Australian and Pakistan, West Indies, New Zealand, South Africa and Sri Lanka have one apiece. Taufel, who was speaking at the launch of his book ‘Finding The Gaps’ in Kolkata, expressed surprise that India doesn’t have an official who has made the cut and offered possible reasons for the situation.
“Every element of the game needs investment, not just the players,” the 48-year old said. “If you look to every full member country and you looked at how many umpire coaches they had and looked at resources and management related to officiating and you compared that with a first-class team, you might be surprised to look at the imbalance between the investment in the performance development of that first-class team compared to a national officiating structure.
“They (Australia) invest more. In Australia, you have a dedicated national umpiring coach, a dedicated training manager, a full-time manager, full-time logistics people. Then, you have a transparent system of selection, transparent system of assessment. So, you give yourself a very good chance.”
Taufel, who announced his retirement from top-flight umpiring in 2012, also cautioned against excessive reliance on technology. According to the Australian the use of technology should be a “safety net” and it can’t replace the skills needed to officiate in the high-pressure environment of international cricket. Mistakes, he believes, are inevitable and his advice to umpires is to be discuss them in a “group environment” rather than by themselves.
“Technology has the potential to breed mediocrity,” Taufel said. “A match official’s job is to make decisions and they need strong technique to get into positions to make them. Technology should be there as a safety net not to replace those skills.
“But it is fair to say that one of things I learnt throughout my career was about handling mistakes and handling brutal honesty better. If I had my career over again, what I would do is actually talk more about my mistakes in a group environment rather than take them back to my hotel room and deal with it myself.”