Thursday, 19 October 2017

General advice to Umpires and Scorers

These notes are for the guidance of umpires and put forward with the aim of ensuring greater consistency of practice.

  • Drink intervals. Umpires should not remove the bails at drinks intervals.
  • Left- and right-handed batsmen. Umpires need not cross over for left- and right-handed batsmen; it is a matter for individual judgement whether there is any advantage in so doing. Make sure you advise the fielding captain of your intentions. Sometimes the low sun will make it hard to see the crease line. In that case you will stand to the side where the sun is behind your back.
  • Smoking - Umpires must not smoke on the field of play at any time.
  • Umpires must be present for the toss 30 minutes before the scheduled starting time. This means moving out to the pitch five minutes earlier to give the captains time to get there on time.
  • Umpires should signal to each other after the 4th fair ball of the over. This is done by showing two fingers of one hand, with the hand pointing towards the ground, towards the other umpire.
  • Wide: Umpires must turn to face the scorers to make the wide-ball signal.
  • Bowling Change: Umpires should signal a bowling change to the scorers. (Pointing to the bowler is recommended.)
  • LBW or Caught: If there is likely to be any doubt on the part of the scorers, the umpire should signal to the scorers. (Suggestion: cupped hands for caught; tapped 'pad' for lbw.)
  • Wides and No balls:  Requires an initial call and signal, followed by a signal to the scorers when the ball is dead. Holding the initial signal for a second or two can alert the scorers to the fact that an 'official' signal will be coming. It is not acceptable to make only one signal.
  • Pre-signal: Umpires should give a 'pre-signal' when runs are going to be signalled as byes or leg-byes. (Usually this is a hand extended slightly and below waist height. It is a good idea to tell the scorers that you intend to use a 'pre-signal'.
  • Resumptions:  At any resumption in play (including drinks intervals), the umpires must do all the checks required at the start of an innings. These checks include signalling to the scorers to ensure that they are ready.
  • Height of the ball:  Striker's-end umpire should give a positive indication of height when the ball is over waist height or shoulder height, preferably by placing a hand at the appropriate level and raising it slightly.
  • Striker's Position:  Striker's-end umpire should hold her/his hands apart to indicate the distance from the striker's back foot to the popping crease.
  • Team Sheets: Umpires must ensure that team sheets are correctly filled in and signed. Ages of under-age players must be carefully checked so that restrictions on young players can be managed. Extra vigilance is required in Junior cricket. It is best practice to ensure that each player is given two names or at a minimum an initial and surname.
  • Leg-side (One-Day) Wides: Any ball that passes down the leg side of the batsman should be called a wide - it is a good idea to explain this at the pre-toss meeting with the captains.
  • Beamers: Umpires absolutely must issue the mandatory warning for all beamers, regardless of whether they are likely to be dangerous. Failure to do so is unacceptable.
  • Front-Foot No Balls:  requires umpires to be certain that the delivery is legal. In case of doubt, call 'No ball'.

  • Intervals: Generally scorers should approach umpires at the tea interval (between innings) to advise them of the score. (Umpires will not usually go straight up to the scorers at the close of an innings when they are very busy doing their final checks.)
  • Junior Cricket: The quality of scorers at Junior levels is very variable. Umpires should be patient but persistent in getting acknowledgements of signals.
  • Umpires are encouraged to use a 'pre-signal' so that scorers may be alerted to the fact that a signal will follow when the ball is dead. It is a good idea to ask umpires what their 'pre-signal' is.
  • Acknowledgements: The scorers' practice of repeating the signal back to the umpires is recommended. (Umpires should wait until they have received an acknowledgement for the first signal before making a second signal.)

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Characteristics needed for successful Recreational Umpires

A recreational umpire is a player in a match who acts as an umpire for a period in the match he/she is taking part in. Almost always you will be a member of the batting side.

  • Concentration skills - ability to switch on and off between deliveries.
  • Good man-management skills - calm demeanour in times of conflict.
  • Sense of humour - show that you are enjoying the match and prepared to share a joke with the players. Smile!
  • Communication skills - deal with any discussion of your decisions in a calm and clear manner.
  • Strong resilient character - confident in your ability to deal with criticism.
  • Resistant to pressure - not influenced by the loudness of appeals.
  • Respectful and Respected - both teams are happy to have you as an umpire.
  • Impartial - show the opposition that you will not favour your own side.
  • Positive attitude / approach - show the players that you are happy to be performing this important role.
  • Punctual - be on the field after an interval at the correct time and before the players.
  • Team player - consult with and support your fellow umpire(s).
  • Smart (in appearance) - dressed appropriately. Avoid bare feet and shorts.
  • Able to apply common sense - If in doubt, consult the law book and/or the local competition playing conditions.
  • Consistency (of decisions) - don't follow a bad decision with another bad decision to 'even the score'.
  • Passionate about cricket - if you are not, what are you doing there?
  • Passionate about the Spirit of Cricket - be prepared to step in if players are not following the code of conduct.
  • Courageous - make the right decision, no matter the state of the match.
  • Un-obstructive - let the players get on with the match.
  • Knowledgeable of Laws of cricket - take the time before the start of each season to re-familiarize yourself with the current laws and playing conditions.
  • Understanding of players needs - all the players you are umpiring must be respected, no matter previous interactions you may have had with them.
  • Learns from experience - don't repeat past mistakes.
  • Uses appropriate language - speak to the players in the same respectful manner that you would expect to be spoken to.

Monday, 5 June 2017

Law Changes from 1 October, 2017

On the 1st of October, 2017 a number of cricket law changes came into effect. These include:
  • giving umpires the power to send off players from the field in response to the most serious incidents of player misconduct. 
  • restriction on bat dimensions (the thickness of edges and depth of bat) which will be an edge limit of 40mm and bat depth of 67mm (60mm for the depth plus an allowance of 7mm for a possible curve on the face of the bat).
  • a batsman will have made his or her ground when a bat bounces after being grounded behind the crease by a running or diving batsman. 
  • The Handled the ball Law has been deleted, with its contents merged into Obstructing the field.
  • The Lost ball Law has been deleted and is now covered under Dead ball.
  • Injuries hoped to be prevented in a new Law which allow mechanisms tethering the bails to the stumps.
  • Bowling of deliberate front foot No balls to be treated in same way as deliberate full-tosses.
  • The Law regarding running out the non-striker has been altered.
  • A new Law of the game, Players’ conduct, is introduced, giving an in-match consequence for poor on-field behaviour.
 Fraser Stewart, MCC's Laws Manager, explained the guiding principles behind all the changes.

He said: ""MCC has left no stone unturned in researching and redrafting the new Laws of Cricket and has done so in order to make the Laws work in a way that makes sense to players, umpires and spectators.

"The Laws are applicable worldwide so they need to be as simple as possible to understand and inclusive to all. The Club hopes to encourage interest in the game at all levels and believes these new Laws are reflective of the present time and easier for cricketers and umpires to interpret."

Sunday, 3 July 2016

Teamwork and Support

Throughout these blog entries there are constant references to the umpires “working as a team”. The Laws provide for many instances where the umpires “agree together”. It is essential that this teamwork is carried onto the field and implemented throughout the day’s play.

Regardless of any personal feelings you may have for each other, either misplaced or valid – to earn respect you must maintain teamwork and professionalism.

As umpires we have all experienced it at some stage. The help you thought you were getting never arrived. Your colleague has to be there for you and vice versa – NO EXCUSES. You almost immediately lose respect for an umpire who tries to show up his colleague. You are a team out there and you have to support each other. The support can be subtle and go unnoticed to all but those close to umpiring.

Loyalty towards a colleague must be complete and resolute.

During conflict situations there can be no value in going on the attack as soon as a possible problem arises. Always watch how your partner is handling a problem and be ready to give support whenever needed. If things get out of hand or bubble over for a long time after the incident, you should walk towards the other umpire at the end of an over and say something like “everything OK?” or “should we speak to the Captain?”

Never get caught not paying attention. Even a slight shrug of the shoulders if you are asked for help is a negative sign. Even if you do not agree that the incident requires a caution to the player or Captain, make sure you both attend to the matter. Quite often a Captain or player will not want to carry on with the problem if he is of the impression that both umpires are working together.

Not backing up your partner is the quickest way to lose respect of not only your colleague but the players as well.

Saturday, 7 May 2016

Coping with pressure

Pressure manifests itself in many ways and in general, will affect logical thinking and optimum performance. The aim of this section is to pass on knowledge to assist everyone to cope and perform better under pressure.

There are good and poor ways of coping with pressure.

Recognising Pressure Symptoms

There are external and internal sources of serious pressure

Pressure breaks your attention span leading to a lapse in concentration.

Pressures usually and most always cause feelings of:

A lack of control over the situation

Tightness of your muscles and breathing

Loss of feeling for the game, its values and participants

This results in:

Loss of basic technique and discipline

Complete breakdown in skills

Results in handling pressure well:

THOUGHTS are positive, confident and flowing in accord with the game.

FEELINGS are calm and in control with a sense of enjoyment and anticipation without effort

FOCUS – on the ‘here and now’, looking for the seam on the ball and wanting the next decision to be yours

Impact of anxiety of performance:

One of the most frequent causes of poor concentration and therefore a build up of pressure is anxiety. Under normal conditions, attention is continually shifting back and forth across a variety of wavelengths.

Under pressure, three things happen:

Attention becomes inflexible

Attention becomes narrow

Attention becomes more internally focused

Dealing with impact of anxiety

Realise that you must have flexibility to be able to deal with pressure

If you allow your attention to narrow, the pressure mounts and it becomes difficult to attend to several things at a time. This is the most dangerous period.

You feel rushed, overloaded and it results in poor decision-making


Increased heart rate

Lump in the throat

Upset stomach

Withdrawal or reluctance to talk to players

Try these simple suggestions:

Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and knees slightly bent

Relax your neck and shoulder muscles

Direct your thoughts inward and realize how tense the rest of your body may be

Try to breathe normally

Feel the heaviness that occurs

Now take a deep slow breath (at least 5 seconds) and feel the tension leave

Continue with a few more deep breaths. Clear your mind of irrelevant thoughts

Focus on the next ball

Thought control – turning negative thoughts into positive

POSITIVE: “Nobody likes it but I can cope with it”
NEGATIVE: “I can’t stand this pressure”

POSITIVE: “Stay calm and watch the ball”
NEGATIVE: “I hope I don’t make any mistakes”

Sunday, 13 March 2016

After the Match

Agree with the scorers as to the correctness of the scores and sign the books.

Laws 3.15 and 4.2 require the umpires and scorers to work together during the match but it is up to the umpires to ensure the scores are correct. It is essential that umpires establish an understanding and have good communication with the scorers in all matches.

Review the match in detail with your partner and if both of you agree, ask for opinions on areas they think you could improve on.

Get to know the players over a drink or two if invited. This can be helpful in knowing the characteristics of players you may be dealing with later in the season. Never get into long-winded discussions about decisions, just stick to what you told them earlier. Many an excellent decision has been spoilt due to mediocre explanation.

Do not discuss your colleague’s performance in his absence – at all times stay loyal to the third team no matter what you really think. Do not stay too long as judgment and inhibitions tend to diminish as the evening grows older.

Finally, remember that every ball of every match you umpire is a way of practicing and honing your skills. Sometimes a “boring” match can be your best opportunity to practice the skills you are less competent at.