Umpire Richard Smith reports on his Umpire Workshop in Dubai
ICC invited all members of its A&A Panel umpires to attend an Umpire Workshop in Dubai leading up to the ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier tournament. This was the second time that the panel had met together for training in the past nine months, European umpire Richard Smith out a diary together of his trip.
Friday 9 March 2012
Journey started out at Belfast International airport where I met up with Mark Hawthorne for the first leg over to Heathrow. When we arrived at Heathrow we had different airlines flying us on to Dubai so I had a chance to test my fitness by moving from Terminal One to Terminal Five in under an hour whilst Mark chose the more leisurely (and sensible) route to Terminal Three in just over two hours. My fitness test was passed and I made my connection with ease before taking advantage of the rehydrating facilities once I stepped onboard.
Saturday 10 March 2012
I arrived in Dubai to be greeted by glorious sunshine and a very pleasant 20 degree plus temperature even though it was only about 0730hrs local. A short taxi journey took me to the Grand Millenium Hotel and I was shown to my room. I made the most of the day by catching up on rest and walking around the local area as well as doing a last bit of study in preparation for the workshop and catching up on news from home. The remainder of the umpires were arriving at staggered intervals and the day soon passed.
Sunday 11 March 2012
This was the big day. I left my room in good time to grab breakfast where I caught up with lots of old faces (and a few young ones). It was great to meet up with everybody and the bus trip to the GCA flew by. The workshop began with a few theory sessions on gaining the most benefit from net sessions. I grabbed a few new ideas and we got to see a few familiar faces as the competing teams were using the GCA facilities throughout the day. The afternoon sessions focused on communication and self-assessment. It was very encouraging to see some video clips where even the top umpires are less than perfect and it was good to hear how different people would manage situations. Subtle forms of communication can make such a difference - in good and bad ways. I may have to tone down my sunglasses next season.
The afternoon sessions was followed by the tournament launch and pre-tournament briefings which made for a very long day. We were treated to a buffet tea whilst we waited for the opening speeches by Haroon Lorgat and other VIP guests which was followed by heading in to the HQ building for the briefings.
Monday 12 March 2012
The second day of the workshop started a little later and everybody managed to get a very good sleep the night before. As well as having a further chance to practice our newly found net skills we covered code of conduct and match management. These were both areas I had been working on during the close season and it was very encouraging to see that not only my work was paying off but my interpretations of some match situations were shared by some senior umpires. It also demonstrates how well we are educated by our regional umpire managers and referees.
The workshop seemed to absolutely fly by and it was soon time to head back to the hotel for an informal group dinner where we were able to wish those lucky enough to be staying on all the very best of luck for the tournament. Europe was represented by Ian Ramage and Mark Hawthorne and I am sure they will do us proud - especially if Mark ditches his baseball cap.
My whistle stop tour was now at an end and I left the hotel at midnight with Jeff Luck from Namibia. Sadly we were leaving from different terminals so I cut a lonely figure as I headed back to Belfast via London. Despite my disappointment at not being able to stay I feel much better prepared for the new season and can't wait to meet up with the European umpires very soon.