BCCI to be asked to approve neutral umpires

Published: Wednesday, August 31, 2005, 23:53 [IST]
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Karachi:The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) said on Monday it would also be asking the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to approve the appointment of only third-country umpires in the five-match One-day series they will play in Pakistan early next year.

A senior official of the board said that after the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) had accepted Pakistan's proposal to have both neutral umpires for the One-day series also in Pakistan, the move was now to convince India to follow suit.

"We would also like the Indians to agree to our proposal that only third-country umpires stand in the One-dayers also.

We feel that there is a drastic need in international cricket for an improvement in umpiring standards and consistency and for an increase in the panel of elite and international umpires," the official said.

He said the Pakistan board had already sent a letter to the International Cricket Council (ICC) asking it to appoint neutral umpires for the One-dayers against England also."We have yet to receive a reply from the ICC on the appointment of umpires for the series and in the meantime we will also talk to the Indians," the official added.

Although some former players and critics have criticised the Pakistan board for floating the idea of having only third-country umpires for its One-dayers against England at home, the official said the idea was to promote a concept that should catch on in the other countries as well.

"There was also criticism when Pakistan first experimented with neutral umpires in Test matches but it was a successful experiment and was soon adopted by the ICC because of its long-term benefits. We are hoping the same will also be true for the One-dayers."

At present while Tests are supervised only by ICC appointed third-country umpires in One-dayers a home umpire stands with the neutral umpire. And there is an argument that Pakistani umpires would suffer due to the new experiment as they will not get a chance to stand in ODIs even in their own country.

But the official said if Pakistan's experiment is successful it would mean the ICC would have to expand its elite and international panel of umpires which would give more opportunities to umpires from all Test playing nations including Pakistan.

"We are hopeful that the Indians would also support our move because the ECB has been very cooperative. Naturally we will be bearing all the expenses of the extra third-country umpire," the official said. "I don't see any difficulty in the Indians accepting our proposal."

Pakistan has been a staunch critic of the umpiring standards internationally and believes the elite and international panel of umpires is being given too much workload and thus they are making costly mistakes under the pressure of a hectic travelling and match itinerary.

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