By CricketCountry Staff
Bengaluru: Apr 26, 2012
ICC elite panel umpire Asad Rauf expressed that; former umpire Steve Bucknor was instrumental in developing his umpiring skills over the years.
“I really respect Steve Bucknor. He once told me ‘Asad, I have a feeling that you will be included in the ICC’s Elite Panel very soon'. Six months later, I was part of the panel. He is my mentor and my coach. I have learnt so much from him since I started my career,” Rauf was quoted as saying by iplt20.com
Rauf also recalled an example from his early days as umpire, when he was asked to officiate a Boxing Day Test between Australia and South Africa. He was officiating only in his third test.
“Steve Bucknor helped me a lot in that Test. I got my confidence from that match. That was the most memorable day of my umpiring career and it was the match with which my career took off. My appointment was in India for the next match but they cancelled it and sent me to Australia,” recalled Rauf.
Asad Rauf's career as an umpire started in 1998 when he made his first-class debut. He was elevated to the ODI panel in 2004 and officiated in his first Test the following year. In April 2006 he was appointed to the ICC Elite Panel.
Speaking about officiating with other umpires, Rauf said that he tries to maintain good rapport with any umpire he’s officiating with, but he finds it comfortable being with fellow countryman Aleem Dar.
"I share a good rapport with Aleem Dar. One reason for that could be that both of us hail from Lahore and have played for the same club. We also made our umpiring debut in ODIs together. We share a great understanding. We also help each other a lot while on the field.
The Pakistan based umpire feels umpire Billy Bowden as one of the funny and unique umpire in the game. “Billy Bowden has this peculiar style which cannot be matched by anyone. He goes a little over the top. When he’s in form, he does all kinds of crazy things.”
Overall, Rauf enjoys the atmosphere while officiating matches during Indian Premier League (IPL).
“Coming to India is different [from visiting other countries]. I believe the people of India have very good knowledge about cricket and hence they appreciate the role of the umpires more. The kind of atmosphere that we see during the IPL isn’t seen anywhere else. Close to 40,000 people shouting in the stands, cheering for their team – I think no one experiences that better than the on-field umpires who are right in the middle of all the action,” he said.
However he points out that, umpiring in a T20 match is far more easier and slow as compared to other forms especially Test matches. People don’t understand this but T20 is in fact slow for the umpires. In this format very few decisions come to the on-field umpires and the ones that do come to us are usually straightforward. The bowlers generally bowl a bit wide of the off-stump which is relaxing for the umpires.
He also made a note about protective gears for umpires specifically in T20 matches looking at the ferocious hitting and a few situations where umpires have been on the receiving end in recent IPL matches.
“The kind of shots that batsmen play these days, we’re seriously thinking of demanding protective gear for the umpires. Very few people think about this but even the umpires have to work hard to maintain a standard of fitness. If the players have to play for six hours, we too have to stand for the same time on the field. In modern times we have to work a bit harder on that aspect,” said a cautious Rauf.
He feels that, observing some of the captains through the IPL, Virendar Sehwag and MS Dhoni are very calm and cool compared to others.
“Being on the field, I can sense how much pressure the captain is under. The most important thing for a captain is to be cool. I think [MS] Dhoni is best in that regard. I also like [Virender] Sehwag’s captaincy. Both these men are very cool which helps them make better decisions. One of the secrets behind CSK’s success over the past seasons is Dhoni’s coolness and in this tournament I’ve seen the same with Sehwag,” he concluded.