Good umpires can rid game of match referees

Written by: D Ram Raj
Published: Saturday, December 8, 2001, 16:43 [IST]
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Bangalore: Dilip Vengsarkar was one of the most elegant right-hand middle-order batsmen of India. His front foot drives in full flow, especially, were a treat to watch. A media columnist (Vengsarkar also runs a cricket academy in Mumbai), Vengsarkar will now invest his time in grooming the upcoming cricketers of India.

Vengsarkar was in Bangalore to oversee the preparations of the 26 probables for the Junior World Cup. Vengsarkar is also to take over as director of talent search development of the Board of Control for Cricket in India Despite his hectic schedule, Vengsarkar took some time off for an exclusive chat with Thatscricket.com.

"If there are good umpires who know how to control the game then there is no need for a match referee," he said. Excerpts of the free-wheeling interview.

Do you think the match-fixing episode has affected the game?

Yes, It (match-fixing) was a big shock for everybody. Nobody expected this to happen. The game is too big and absorbed a lot of shocks - not only this one - it will go on forever. There was a slight back to the game, but it has come out winner.

Set back, I mean popularity wise. People were very upset that this thing can happen in cricket. Especially in the sub-continent where it is a very popular game. Many of the supporters felt very bad about the whole thing.

From the players perspective, has anything changed after the episode?

I don't know to be honest with you. The players who were allegedly involved have been banned or sacked - whatever you can call it. So, I think the game has come out as the clear winner.

As a former player, coach and writer what do you perceive about the game today?

There is a lot of money in the game now. There is big money in the game now, which was not there in our time. This is good for the game and good for the players. A lot of players would like to make the game a full-time career also.

There is a big change. Facilities have improved by leaps and bounds. Associations and administrators are taking more interest in the game. The administrators are trying to help the game in whatever way they can and this is definitely for the better.

What are your impressions about the technology, the match referees and the surrounding controversies?

At the international level there should a pool of say 10 umpires and they should do the job for the entire year. Two umpires from neutral countries should officiate in all matches. I don't think there is any need for a match referee as such. If there are good umpires who know how to control the game then there is no need for a match referee.

Will it be feasible to introduce a card system of punishment as in football?

Well it is there in soccer, which is a very physical game. Cricket is not a very physical game. As I said earlier if the umpires on the field can control the game, then there is no need for this kind of thing at all.

India has a pool of talented players, but they don't seem to gel as a team when playing abroad, what is the missing link?

The missing link is the India 'A' and under-19 teams. These are the teams that we have to invest in. If these players are also given exposure in South Africa, Australia, England or West indies then we can get a bigger pool of players of international class. Then we will know where the players stand.

There is no point in scoring runs in domestic cricket where the standard is very low. Test players cannot play domestic cricket because there is so much of international pressure.

These (India 'A' and under-19) players should be sent abroad as a team and we should also get the foreign teams to play in India. Unless and until we concentrate on India 'A' and under-19, we cannot get good cricketers.

Suppose there is a tour of Australia in December, then the India 'A' team should play there in October. Then we will know which players are doing well in those conditions and groom one or two along with the senior team.

Due you think academies can foster the development of good cricketers

The academies should come from associations. Every association must promote an academy and provide high quality infrastructure. The Board is giving a lot of subsidies to associations, which should be invested in cricket. It has to come from within and the administrators will have to do this with a lot of passion.

What do you think of the role of players as administrators, say like Brijesh Patel (secretary Karnataka State Cricket Association)?

They (players) would love to come into administration, but it is very difficult. To win an election to an association, you have to be very good politically. Winning elections and scoring runs are two different things. Brijesh has done it and I hope more cricketers come in (to administration).

Brijesh is unique because he has done a fantastic job. He has given a lot back to the game. The infrastructure that he has provided at the KSCA - I have been coming here for years for camps and matches - is something amazing.

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