Former umpire Taufel backs Day-Night Tests for format’s revival
Simon Taufel (AFP Image)

Former ICC Elite Panel umpire Simon Taufel feels playing Day/Night Test could be a step towards reviving cricket’s traditional format. Initially reluctant to embrace the concept, India will play their first pink ball day/night Test from November 22 to 26, the opponents being Bangladesh and the venue the iconic Eden Gardens.

“It’s about trying new things and have an open mind. There’s no question that Test cricket is facing a challenge at the moment. I’m not sure if the day/night Test is the only answer to promote the game. It may be part of the answer. But unless we try, we would not know,” Taufel said on the sidelines of his book launch, Finding the Gaps.

“It has worked in other parts of the world, Adelaide particularly. I’ve been to the day/night Test there. Certainly, it’s very popular. I hope people here will approach this Test in Kolkata with an open mind. It may be part of the solution.”

Widely regarded as one of the best umpires, Taufel, who took an early retirement, was a picture of courage and conviction as he attended the launch despite his mother’s demise on Thursday.

“Eight weeks ago my mother was in good health, tough lady, no problem at all. Two days ago, on Thursday, she succumbed to cancer,” the 48-year-old said, adding that he knew his mother would have wanted him to keep his commitment. “In 72 years of her life she had sacrificed a lot for me to get me to this point. I feel fortunate. My family is proud of the legacy and I cannot let it go away. Success is never achieved on your own, you have to have good people around you. I’m very fortunate to have many good people around me.”

BCCI president Sourav Ganguly, the man behind the introduction of day/night pink ball Test cricket in India, said Taufel must play a more pro-active role and educate the umpires.

“I think he can still be involved in educating young umpires at a time where technology has completely taken over and some decisions and the umpires are really made to look stupid when they give a decision only to see it turn around,” Ganguly said at the launch.

“It’s a new life for Simon. At a time I must say your entire generation of players and umpires respected you and that’s what remains at the end of the day. I thoroughly enjoyed at the other end. In sport there’s no retake.”

The Aussie quit umpiring in international cricket after the 2012 World T20, taking took up the role of umpire performance and training manager with the ICC. In October 2015, he resigned from that role as well. Taufel was earlier hired by the BCCI to train Indian umpires.

“I’ve seen him closely in the peak and when technology had just started to come in. He just stood out. He represented a generation when there were some exceptional cricketers like Sachin Tendulkar, Steve Waugh. He had to set up his standards very high. In an era where umpires were judged by number of mistakes, Simon was just exceptional,” Ganguly added.