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India’s Sundaram Ravi (S. Ravi) is among the 20 umpires named by the International Cricket Council (ICC) on Tuesday to officiate in the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand next year. He is among the eight international umpires included along with 12 from Elite Panel. This is a great achievement for India as he will be the second umpire to officiate after S Venkatraghvan. He also happens to be the first non-cricketing individual from India to rise to this level.
S Ravi is an international cricket umpire from Tamil Nadu. He has umpired in four Test matches, 18 One day international matches, 12 T20 matches and 27 Indian premier league matches. He started his career in first class matches in 1992 and has officiated in 44 during 1992-2012. He umpired in 37 List A matches during the period of 1993-2012. He started his international career in One day international matches and T-20 matches from 2011. His debut in Test matches was in 2013 in a match between Bangladesh vs. Newzeleand.
S. Venkatraghvan was the first Indian to officiate in three World Cups in 1996, 1999 and 2003. He made his international umpiring debut in One day International between India and England at Jaipur on 18th January 1993. He gained a place on the inaguraual International umpire panel when it was formed in 1994 and was selected by the International cricket Council on a regular basis to umpire in Test matches away from home as the neutral umpire. The highlight of his umpiring carrier was his appointment to officiate in six Test match ashes. In total he officiated in 73 Test matches from the period 1993-2004 and 52 One day international matches from the period 1993-2004 during his carrier. He also umpired in 79 first class matches from 1990-2004 and also in 56 matches during the period of 1990-2003.He was one of the ace spin bowlers of India during 1970’s.
Umpiring requires a lot of physical strength to stand for long hours, stamina and concentration to give right decisions at the top level. There are top umpires from different countries who have done well in umpiring. Famous umpires include Billy Bowden, Simon Taufel, Steve Bucknor, Aleem Dar whose umpiring standard has been exceptional. The use of technology has helped the umpires a lot to give decisions in the recent times.
India has good umpires officiating in domestic matches in India like Vineet Kulkarani, C Shamshudin. However at the international level, particularly to officiate in the World cup Indian contribution has been not that good. The achievement of S Ravi will be a morale booster for the young Indians aspiring to take up to umpiring. The quality of umpiring in the modern day cricket has improved a lot due to technology support. The BCCI must encourage this profession and make sure that those who want to take umpiring as a profession given guidance, proper training facilities, infrastructure and appropriate remuneration for a respectful living.
I am sure that in the upcoming days we will see good Indian umpires representing India in all major tournaments played abroad.