Thatscricket - News - Indo-Pak ties finally begin to thaw

Published: Wednesday, March 21, 2001, 23:53 [IST]
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Islamabad: In what is seen as a thaw in cricketing ties between India and Pakistan, two Indian umpires - V K Ramasawamy and K Hariharan - have arrived here for an advanced umpiring course being conducted by the Asian Cricket Council (ACC).Ramaswamy is an instructor at the course that started on Monday in Islamabad, while Hariharan is a participant.The arrival of the Indian officials late on Monday evening brought smiles to the faces of the ACC officials holding an eight-day course in collaboration with the International Cricket Council (ICC), as it was interpreted as a sign that the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is willing to resume its cricketing relations with Pakistan. Cricketing ties between the two countries have remained suspended since the Indian government late last year cancelled a scheduled tour by an Indian team, citing the need to first improve relations between the countries.An official at the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) said that it was for the first time in 20 years that Indian cricket officials are visiting Pakistan to fulfill their official commitments.Ramaswamy says that this course is the longest one he has ever attended. "The beginning has been good and I am sure this will greatly help the umpires," he told reporters.Ramaswamy also spoke against the excessive use of technology on the field, as this would make umpires redundant. "The use of technology to make umpiring decisions is not harmful but this should not be overdone," Ramaswamy said."An umpire is never in doubt when giving a verdict so I think it is not right to bring in television for this purpose," he said, referring to the increasing reliance on the third umpire for difficult decisions, particularly those relating to declaring a batsmen out leg before wicket.Ramaswamy, who was on the ICC panel of umpires from 1994 to 1999, felt that if more and more decisions were going to be made through the use of modern technology, a day will come when umpires wouldn't be required.Ramaswamy, with 26 Tests and 41 One-day Internationals under his belt, also pointed to the dangers associated with high technology. "What do you do when technology fails?" he asked.At the same time, he said, there is also a positive side to technology. "I always used to think that I had done a wonderful job out in the middle but now one can watch replays from so many angles it helps you in making an analysis," Ramaswamy said.He contested some recent reports in the media that portrayed umpires from the sub-continent in a negative light, saying, "They are among the best in the world. If the media starts boosting the morale of umpires from the sub-continent you will see that they would be considered as good as any other umpire in the world."Ramaswamy also blamed the respective boards for not doing enough to promote the image of their umpires. "It is their duty to fight for the cause of their countries' umpires at international level," he said.Hariharan, who has stood in for five One-day Limited Overs matches, stressed that the human element should remain. "Even the best of cameras cannot catch the ball at times," he said."There is no camera that can catch the batsman from where the umpire is positioned. It has to be one or two degrees away, so it is always the umpire who can give the right verdict and not the camera," he felt.India Abroad News Service

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