Umpiring in cricket plays a major role and contributes to the fair game.

That is why the Lesotho Cricket Association (LCA) invests heavily in the acquisition of skills and knowledge as far as umpiring is concerned.  Therefore, today’s edition will focus on umpiring in cricket. While the coach has a special job to do and the umpire has his, the two roles often merge into one without any clear lines of demarcation. Because of a lack of trained personnel at the schoolboy level, the coach is frequently required to umpire, so it is important that he has a grasp of the essential facets of the job.

If umpiring duties were to become a regular feature, the coach would be well advised to go on a special umpiring course.  However, if it is just a case of the occasional stint in the white coat, the following information should prove useful:

Umpiring should be a relatively straightforward task, providing a logical, objective view of the game. He or she cannot afford to favour either side, even subconsciously.

His one allegiance must be to the laws of cricket and their application.  Once that principle is established, he or she should ensure that they conduct themselves in a systematic way. This ordered approach will give an air of authority that commands respect, and once that is achieved, the job becomes much easier.  It is when decisions are questioned by others first and then by oneself that problems arise. Be the umpire; do not be a coach.

The batter will want a guard. Once he or she has marked it, tell them how many balls remain in that over and inform them of the style of bowling. He is not entitled to know that the bowler is delivering leg breaks with the occasional googly or fast in-swingers. All you need to divulge is whether the bowler is bowling with his right or left arm and whether he is going over or around the wicket. Do not allow him to bowl until the batter is ready.

It is important that, as an umpire, you are aware of the various signals that you must convey to the score so that the match can run smoothly and to be sure that the scores have taken note of your signals.

An essential part of gaining respect as the umpire is to know the laws well, especially important ones such as LBW (leg before wicket), wides (a type of illegal delivery to a batter), and no-balls when the ball is dead and whether a run is to be given or not.

For example, at the bowler’s end, the umpire must stand directly behind the stumps. When the bowling is from the other end, he must make sure that he stands in line with the popping crease. Umpires and coaches should also make every effort to turn out smartly dressed in matches, as often, if the umpire’s dress is sloppy, then so will his team’s dress and performance will also be sloppy.

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