ICC happy with Elite umpires

Published: Thursday, October 14, 2004, 23:53 [IST]
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Lahore:The newly appointed ICC umpires' high performance manager defended the elite panel of umpires saying they were doing a fantastic job despite controversy over decisions in the recent Test between Australia and India.

"(The) ICC has put in so much work to improve umpiring and my appointment as high performance manager is aimed at further enhancing the overall skill of eight elite umpires who have achieved a 92-94 percent success," Keith Medlycott told AFP on Wednesday.

"(The) ICC is pushing it as hard as they can, the eight elite panel umpires have done a fantastic job in the most pressurised situations," he said.

The 39-year-old former left arm spinner from England, who coached Surrey to three county titles between 1997-2003, took over early this month to introduce a training and development programmes to cover the physical and mental condition of all ICC contracted umpires.

Medlycott is on the first leg of a 30-day fact-finding tour and flies to Chennai before going to Dhaka, Karachi and Bombay to review Test matches at those venues.

Asked about some poor umpiring decisions in the recent Bangalore Test between Australia and India, Medlycott said the 6-8 percent errors were highlighted more.

"It just so happen that when an error of judgement is made it is highlighted very aggressively," he said.

"I would like to see that the fantastic amount of high quality decisions that are made throughout the year be also highlighted."

The International Cricket Council (ICC) introduced the elite panel of umpires and referees in April 2002 to ensure the highest possible standards.

The current panel include three umpires from Australia, and one each from England, West Indies, Pakistan, New Zealand and South Africa.

Medlycott disagreed the ICC was concerned over the standard of umpiring.

"It's not concerning ... I don't think in any way (the) ICC is concerned with the quality of umpiring, 94 percent of success is very high.

"What we hope is to reach Utopia," he remarked, referring to the land of perfection in the book of the same name by British writer Sir Thomas More.

The ICC official said television replays were not instant.

"We must realise that TV replays are not instant, not as they happen, you can reassess. What we need to do is understand that there may be a mistake but we try to eradicate that and at the moment there are very few mistakes."

Medlycott refuted claims that umpires get away with mistakes and players who show dissent against them are penalised.

"The elite umpires are monitored, they are analysed and each match is stringently tested," he said.

"They (umpires) are there to uphold the game and we need to respect umpires and officials who are paramount in the game, they show integrity with the set out rules."

"If someone makes an honest error of judgement we should not isolate the scenario. The role of the elite panel is to have the best and they are the best."

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