Indian umpire Nitin Menon is one of the youngest members in the ICC Elite Panel of Umpires. He had stopped playing cricket at the age of 22 and took up his family profession of umpiring. He recently talks about the life after resumption of cricket and how ball management would be a challenge.
Ball Management Challenge
Nitin had made his international debut as an umpire three years ago. Recently, he was inducted in the 12-member elite panel of umpires.
Menon believes that the biggest challenge will be ball management when cricket resumes. It is a tough task to ensure that players do not apply saliva on the cricket ball. He does not know when his next umpiring assignment will begin. Yet, he is aware that putting in place ICC’s new guidelines will be a big challenge.
He said that ball management, especially in Tests will be an uphill task. The bowlers rely on swinging and drifting the ball by means of shining it using saliva. Nitin also said that initially if someone is found using saliva she/he will be given a friendly warning. lIke. It is done when a player runs dangerously on the pitch.
The Indore based umpire thinks that the series in England next month will clear doubts on playing conditions.
Menon’s dream Test and the quarantine life
The 36-year old is hopeful of becoming a part of the iconic Ashes Test series between England and Australia. Nitin confesses that this is the only Test series that he watches on television. He wants to be involved in the series because of the atmosphere and the intense rivalry. Standing in the T20 or ODI World Cup is also on the top of his list.
Recently, due to the travel restrictions, ICC had decided to allow only local umpires. Menon thinks that going forward even umpires might have to be quarantined before a series. He further said that it umpires quarantining will be challenging mentally. It is learnt that the umpires for the England-West Indies will have to stay in their hotel for 10 days. The feedback is awaited of umpires officiating in England’s home series between West Indies and Pakistan.
Menon believes that a cultural shift is seen in Indian umpiring. The umpires are young and it has become a flourishing profession now. It also serves as a great platform for someone who could not continue playing cricket. According to Menon, body language, match management and communication skills are key to umpiring.