WI cricket lacks professionalism

Published: Monday, May 21, 2007, 23:53 [IST]
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Chittagong:Still touchy over the Oval controversy that by his own admission has transformed him as a human being, ICC elite panel umpire Billy Doctrove said West Indies cricket lacks professionalism and planning which has caused their downfall in recent times.

Talking to UNI, Doctrove, who spent a lazy day yesterday thanks to incessant rains that allowed no play, said, ''I enjoy umpiring under different conditions as it gives me an opportunity to take up more challenges.''

Asked how he handled crisis while umpiring, Doctrove, who is here to officiate the two Tests featuring India and Bangladesh, said, ''Its not easy. The Oval for instance has taught me a lot.''

''I don't discuss much on the topic as it is still fresh in the minds. I treat it as history. I have put it behind me. I try to take it as a learning experience. I have learnt something from it. I have not only become a better umpire, but also a better person. And I hope I can use it to my benefit,'' he said.

On whether he stands by the decision of awarding the match to England, the Dominican said, ''There was no choice for the umpires if one team decided not to come to the field and according to the laws of the game it had to awarded to the other side. I have no personal opinion on the issue.''

Asked to give some details of the proceedings that he and Darrell Hair faced, this trained agriculturist said, ''Maybe you will read about it one day in a book I write. But not today.''

Pakistan skipper Inzamam-ul-Haq was charged with bringing the game into disrepute after the controversial Oval Test against England in August 2006. He also faced an allegation of changing the condition of the ball. The umpires ruled Pakistan forfeited the Test by initially refusing to take the field after tea in response to being penalised for ball-tampering.

On the recent slump in form of the West Indian team and their poor show in the World Cup, Doctrove said, ''The West Indian administration has not kept pace with the development in recent times. It is not very professional in its approach. And I think the players sometime lose their focus during the match.''

''I think it goes off tangent for a while. And for the domestic competition, its pretty ordinary. I think we need academies like we have in India and Australia. We need to groom our youngsters so that they are successful on the international front,'' Doctrove, who is a part of the Ministry of Sports back home, said.

Continuing on the topic he added, ''There is talent, but that is not all they need to be mentally focused, physically fit and ready for the challenge. I don't think our team is that fit physically or mentally.''

On his take on the use of technology on cricket field, he said, ''It is good as it minimizes error. Technology can make life very difficult for the umpires. Every decision is dissected and scrutinised. But it can help in getting more decisions correct.''

''I found the ear-piece in World Cup helpful. Some of the umpires were not happy about it. But basically I think it was very helpful, though you need to develop on it,'' he added.

''One has to be in good physical conditions to be able to keep the concentration going. He needs to blank out any other thing playing on the mind. The focus should be on the match,'' he added.

On making mistakes, a deeply religious Doctrove who prays to God for strength and inspiration, said, ''Mistakes are always difficult to come to terms to. But then you have to tell yourself that it should not affect other decisions."

"An umpire always goes out to the middle with the idea of delivering 100 per cent correct decisions.'' ''But when you give a wrong decision you know this was not the first one to do that and this will not be the last. So you pray to God and hope to minimize the mistakes,'' Doctrove, who has never approached a player after making a wrong decision, added.

Quizzed on the fact if he found any team difficult to handle, pat came the reply, ''I never had any difficulty in handling players. Not really...no bad boys. Some players are a little difficult to handle. But it is all a question of man-management.

As umpires we know it.'' On his pick of five top umpires, he said, ''All the elite umpires are good. But I have a special bonding with Steve Bucknor.

He helped me a lot to become a good umpire.''


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