Apr 11 2015
Take an umpiring course
Even if you have no intention of becoming a regular umpire in your post-playing adult years, you should take an umpiring course at the earliest opportunity. There are two reasons for this. The first is that you will almost certainly be required to umpire your own matches at secondary school level. Indeed, some secondary school competitions do not permit adults to umpire. The second is that the best way to learn all you can about the laws of the game is through an umpiring course.
Bad officials spoil most games, but worse, biased or ignorant umpires can completely ruin a game of cricket. Don’t allow yourself, while umpiring in your own match, to be caught out by ignorance of the laws when required to make a decision.
Make decisions based on what you see
Be guided by your catch-at-the-wicket decisions by noting any deflection off the bat rather than by any sound you hear. In other words, give your decision as out or not-out based on what you see rather than what you hear. There can be many reasons for sounds to occur which are not the result of the ball hitting the bat. Examples of these can include the ball edging the pad or a pad buckle, the bat hitting the pad or the bat scraping the pitch. All of these can confuse an inexperienced umpire and end in him making the wrong decision.
Nothing causes young and inexperienced umpires more anxiety than having to rule on leg-before-wicket appeals. This is the one method of dismissal that causes the most potential for conflict between teams in junior cricket. You will have observed through television replays of how many times international umpires get these decisions wrong.
For example, in giving some incorrect “out” decisions they fail to notice that the ball would have bounced over the stumps, or that the ball pitched just outside the line of the leg stump, or that the batter edged the ball on to his pads, and so forth. Your job, however, is in many ways much easier as your decisions will not be subjected to replay analysis.
Making the right decision
The following tips may help you in making the right decisions:
- If in doubt, not out!
- Always pause before giving a decision.
- When appropriate, consult the square-leg umpire.
- Thoroughly learn the lbw law.
- Practise your umpiring during net practice sessions. Not only can you improve your feel for making the right call on lbw appeals, you can also work on adjudging front-foot no-balls and caught-behind nicks.
- Quickly get a feel for the amount the ball is bouncing. You can work with your square-leg partner on a simple set of hand-signals. When an appeal is made you can glance at your partner who can quietly signal to you whether or not the ball would have bounced over the stumps.
- Don’t be bullied by the fielding team into giving an out decision. The loudness of the appeal is irrelevant. Be confident in your ability to make an unhurried but correct decision.
- At the bowler’s end you should stand in line with the stumps and at a distance where you can look down over the top of the bails and still just see the batting crease.