What's the story?
The ICC has announced the list of umpires and match officials who would be officiating in the upcoming men’s Cricket World Cup 2019 starting from May 30 onwards. A total of 22 officials, 16 umpires and six match-referees would be officiating in this tournament.
ICC gave time until April 23rd, 2019 for all the ten participating teams to announce their fifteen member squad for the tournament.
In case you didn’t know..
The role of the umpires and match officials is extremely important and crucial in ensuring any tournament functions smoothly, especially an ICC Cricket World Cup. It becomes necessary for the best in the business to officiate in such high-pressure games where a lot is at stake.
The role of the umpires and match-referees have come in for lot of speculation and criticism off late with lot of shocking decisions given by the on-field umpires seriously impacting the result of games. Despite having all the technology like snicko-meter, hawkeye and ball-tracker, somewhere the umpires don’t get all the decisions right.
The heart of the matter
The 16 umpires and six match referees, who have been selected for the 48-match tournament, include famous and well known members of the past World Cup winning sides.
International Cricket Council quoted Adrian Griffith, ICC Senior Manager - Umpires and Referees as saying:
Officiating at the World Cup as playing is an honour and the pinnacle of an official's career. It is a tough job with the eyes of the cricketing world on every decision. But this group of 22 is the very best from around the world who will rise to the occasion. I wish them all the very best.
The opening match of the ICC World Cup 2019, featuring hosts England taking on South Africa would have as many as three former World Cup winning members standing.
David Boon who was part of Australia's successful 1987 World Cup campaign, is the match-referee whereas the on-field umpires include Kumar Dharmasena who was part of Arjuna Ranatunga’s World Cup winning side of 1996 and Paul Reifel who was part of Steve Waugh’s champion side in 1999.
Rajan Madugalle will be the most experienced match referee in the upcoming World Cup. He will be handling the match refree duties in his sixth World Cup, whereas Chris Broad and Jeff Crowe would be officiating in their fourth World Cup respectively.
Aleem Dar, the cool and calm umpire from Pakistan would be involved in his fifth World Cup this time around. The biggest development coming out of the list announced is the retirement of the jovial, easy-going and efficient Ian Gould after the World Cup.
Gould has officiated in 74 Tests, 135 ODIs and 37 T20Is so far. ICC quoted General Manager - Cricket, Geoff Allardice as saying:
Ian has made an outstanding contribution to the game over a long period as an international umpire for the ICC. He has always put the interests of the game first, and in doing so has earned enormous respect from his colleagues and players across all countries. His presence on the field will be missed, but I am sure his lifelong association with the game will continue.
Umpires, match-referees and ground staff are probably the least respected and recognized people in the game of cricket. All the limelight gets stolen by the players playing on the field and the coaching staff.
It’s not easy being an umpire or a match official in modern times where every decision of yours can get scrutinized and criticized. It helps that ICC have selected umpires and match referees of some pedigree and class, who also know what it takes to play in such a tournament and succeed.
With the squads announced for all the countries and the match officials selected, it’s all set up for the marquee tournament to get started.
List of Match Refrees for the World Cup:
Chris Broad, David Boon, Andy Pycroft, Jeff Crowe, Ranjan Madugalle, and Richie Richardson.
Umpires for the upcoming World Cup:
Aleem Dar, Kumar Dharmasena, Marais Erasmus, Chris Gaffaney, Ian Gould, Richard Illingworth, Richard Kettleborough, Nigel Llong, Bruce Oxenford, Sundaram Ravi, Paul Reiffel, Rod Tucker, Joel Wilson, Michael Gough, Ruchira Palliyaguruge, Paul Wilson.