A sporting encounter with Madhav Gothoskar
Mumbai - It takes an old timer with a keen eye to put the evolving profession of umpiring in perspective.
Veteran international umpire Madhav Gothoskar did not mince words when he shared his insights in an interaction with the Mumbai Live team this week. "Earlier, umpires used to bend and take their eyes to the level of stumps while a bowler was delivering the ball. Nowadays, the umpires stand upright. Due to this, it becomes difficult for the umpire to judge the direction of the ball, legnth and spin or swing, which often leads to wrong decisions," he pointed out. "Many times, umpires end up giving wrong LBW decisions on spin-friendly pitches, as umpires stand upright," he added.
Gothoskar cited examples to point out nuances of umpiring, saying that the scenario has also changed in today’s umpiring style. He added that in the name of home advantage, many countries create cricket pitches that are suitable to their own strengths, giving an unfair advantage to the home team and harms the spirit of the game. To avoid this practice, Ranji trophy matches are now played at a neutral venue. The same move will be made with international matches shortly, if the home advantage practice continues, he opined.
In an engaging interaction, the old warhorse shared many instances from his umpiring days and of cricket players he has observed and interacted with over the decades.