Sunil Chandiramani tells ICC Europe of his Trevor Henry scholarship

Wed, Aug 15, 2012 11:49 AM

Sunil Chandiramani an ICC Europe official was awarded a scholarship from the Trevor Henry Memorial Fund, here he gives us an account of what he did.

Earlier this year I was awarded a Scholarship from the Trevor Henry Memorial Fund. The Fund assists cricket umpires in their education and further development in the game. As a young umpire, I relished a challenge and got in touch with Paddy O’Hara from Cricket Ireland to umpire two games during a weekend in July.

Why Ireland?

Over the past couple of years, I have realised that the best way to develop and progress as an umpire is by umpiring in cricket games that are higher in intensity. Given the status of Irish Cricket, I knew that it will be a challenging experience, which will only better me as an umpire.

The Build-Up

I received the Northern Cricket Union Regulations book and I knew this weekend would be very different to the cricket I get at home. I was standing with an umpire with whom I had stood before, Alan Neill. Alan and I had stood together in the ICC European WCL Div 8 Qualifier in La Manga and I was really looking forward to catching up and standing with him.

Game 1 (Saturday 28th July 2012) – Waringstown CC v Lisburn CC at The Lawn

Match Day 1, I woke up nervous but excited! I realised that the standard was going to be very high with Kyle McCallan, Gary Kidd and two professionals from South Africa were playing as well as players that are part of the Irish setup.

I made my way on to the field and I heard “Coming out to umpire are Alan Neill and Sunil Chandiramani, here from Gibraltar.” At my end, I had Glenn Addicott bowling. He is Waringstown’s overseas pro from South Africa. Once the first couple of balls went down, the nerves had faded and I felt relaxed and just like every other game of cricket. With former Surrey and Ireland cricketer, Gary Kidd bowling at my end and many quick singles, my field-craft and positioning was incredibly important and I had to make sure I was square to the wickets if there was a chance of a run out.

Almost 40 overs were gone and the game was firmly poised, but the luck of the Irish was not with us, as the rain came tumbling down at 14.34. Alan and I decided to take lunch now in the interest of keeping the game at 50 overs-a-side. But it did not look very positive. With increasing rain and a very grey sky, we knew it would be a close shave to even get it down to 20 overs-a-side. The ground-staff were working tirelessly to try and get us a game but one heavy deluge and the ground was very wet and we had to call the game off at 5pm.

During the two hour rain delay I learnt a lot from many people. I took advantage and spoke to my colleague, the ground-staff and players such as Kyle McCallan and Darryl Brown. Alan explained how he deals with rain delays. The most important words he said to me were “let the ground staff do their thing, they know the conditions, how the pitch dries… essentially they are your best friends.” We walked around the pitch and showed me how to assess the outfield and to keep talking to the groundsman and keep them updated with cut off points for the overs.

Kyle drew on his experiences in the international games and explained how the umpires at the highest level were like and how they handled the players at tough times. I learnt a lot from Darryl, who has played with Jacques Kallis. He said that the best umpires he had seen were the more sociable ones and those that would get involved and catch some balls, such as Aleem Dar and Simon Taufel.

Although I did not get a full game, it was a day full of a lot of firsts and many lessons learnt! Roll on Day two!

Game 2 (Sunday 29th July 2012) – North Down CC v Instonians CC at The Green

Match day 2, the legs were a bit stiff, but I was definitely looking forward to it.

Once again, the game started with the Ground Authority introducing our names and Alan and I made our way to the wicket. The game started promptly at 12 noon at my end. I had Gavin McKenna, a tall left arm over the wicket bowler at my end that gets very close to the stumps so my first thoughts were does he run down the pitch, where did the ball pitch? There were a couple of close lbw shouts that kept me on my toes, but all went smoothly, even if some of the spectators were playing umpire and saying “umpire, that was out.” I just shut that out of my system and just kept the focus and in my zone and concentrated on umpiring the game.

The first innings went very well, and I felt very comfortable. Apart from a short stoppage for rain, and a couple of balls going over the fence, it was like another game of cricket in Gibraltar. Instonians got a solid score of 229/7 so I had a feeling that the second innings would be a lively affair.

North Down lost an early wicket and the first 25 overs went by with hardly a decision to be made and North Down captain Ryan Haire along with Peter Eakin were making the 229 total very easily gettable.

The game was drawing to a thrilling finale and I anticipated the match going the distance as North Down lost a three wickets in fairly quick succession. Alan explained that the last 15 overs are very crucial; not only to the players but the umpires too as this is essentially where my umpiring skills would be tested as every decision would be judged by someone.

I could feel the tension as the fielders were trying to contain the batsman and the batsman trying to take every run on offer, even if at times it was suicidal and with a lack of calling. Another wicket fell and we were into the last couple of overs. North Down needed a few runs to win and Instonians needed 3 wickets. My thoughts were, take my time in my decisions and make sure I am in the right place at the right time. The game was firmly poised into the last over. 1 run to win, 3 wickets to go and the in form batsman was off strike with number 9 on strike. The second ball of the last over produced a run out and it was numbers 9 and 10 at the crease. The very next ball the batsman hit the ball over mid-on for four runs and the game was over. 99.3 overs done in the day. I was well chuffed!

Parting thoughts

I really do not know how to conclude this. Indeed, this has been one of the best experiences in my short cricket umpiring career. This opportunity along with my experiences having umpired in the World Cricket League Qualifiers in La Manga earlier this summer has spurred me on to take my game up a level and really aim high. Having experienced a more professional set-up of umpires and umpiring in general, rain and very competitive cricket in Ireland has been very beneficial to my own personal development that I have implemented into my own game.

I need to thank the Trevor Henry Memorial Fund and Graham Cooper from ICC Europe who gave me the opportunity to improve my umpiring. Finally, I am grateful to Paddy O’Hara, Ian Houston and Alan Neill from the Northern Cricket Union (Cricket Ireland) for having organised a fantastic weekend of cricket and their kind hospitality which was nothing short of legendary. Till next year I hope!

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