Former Cricket Umpire Says Position Has Become Highly Specialized, More Demanding
Former cricket umpire Simon Taufel said that the job of the third umpire "has become a highly specialised role requiring tailored training as demanding as the coaching players," according to Nick Hoult of the London TELEGRAPH. Taufel works for the Int'l Cricket Council and "is in the process of building a training programme for officials across all forms of the game in an attempt to lift the standards of third-umpiring, and to widen the diversity of the elite panel that at the moment includes eight out of 12 umpires from England or Australia." The third umpire’s decisions "have been one of the most controversial aspects of the current Ashes series, beginning with the wrongly overturned lbw decision against Jonathan Trott in the first Test and including a couple of close calls on faint edges behind at Lord’s." Commentators "have blamed the third umpires for failing to apply the decision review system properly," and Taufel believes that more training is required for what has become a pressurized job as technology increasingly influences cricket (TELEGRAPH, 7/24).
UNDER FIRE: The PTI reported Taufel also discussed the benefits of the Decision Review System, which "has come under fire during the ongoing Ashes series following a number of controversial decisions." He said, "Decision-making in today's game is in my opinion tougher than when I started umpiring 22 years ago because more people see evidence that we may not get to see on the ground at the time. Anyone who watches the game at the ground, on the giant replay screen or on TV, will assess each and every decision of the umpires and also make an overall judgement of their performance." He said that the role of an umpire today "is much more than just making decisions." Taufel said, "We have to police (and I personally dislike this term and approach) other vital areas of the modern game. Player behavior, ball tampering, over rates, logos and clothing, impact of ground, weather and light, having to reduce playing times" (PTI, 7/25).