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K Hariharan – You need to prove yourself at every level

The veteran official talks about the journey towards getting an international game.

Umpire K. Hariharan explained the process to become a recognised BCCI umpire in part one of the series. In the concluding part, the veteran official talks about the journey towards getting an international game.

There are no shortcuts in sports. It is your hard work and patience that counts. Before one can become eligible to officiate in an international game, one has to prove himself at various stages.

The BCCI recognised umpires are allotted matches conducted by the Board and one starts from the junior level. There is bound to be nervousness initially and to help a young umpire deal with anxiety if any, a senior umpire is always posted. The match referee too helps and provides assistance.

Every match is video recorded. Your performance speaks for yourself. A review committee goes through the footage and monitors you.

One has to slowly climb the ladder and in the first year, one gets U-15, U-19, U-23 and women’s junior and senior games. If your performance is not satisfactory, you need to go down a level, improve and come back again.

The review committee judges you on these criteria

a) Body language

b) Communications skills

c) Man-management skills

d) Player and team management

e) Team work with match referee and scorers on the ground

f) Your focus and alertness

With so much cricket being played all around, fitness is something very important. You may not require the same fitness levels as the players, but you still need to be fit to stand on the field all day. Mental alertness is also very important. The upkeep of your body, your heart beat and your eyesight and vision need to be optimized.

The BCCI will send you for medical examination every year and you need to prove yourself medically fit. You will be checked for stress levels, hearing capacity, eye test and physical fitness. These tests are part of the system. You have to prove yourself in every way.

If you are doing well, you get to officiate in multi-day games. Officiating in multi-day games is an entirely different experience. Your fitness and ability to concentrate for long hours is put to test and your performance is watched.

Once you tick the boxes and gain confidence of the committee you are promoted and get to officiate in the Ranji Trophy. To help you familiarize with first-class cricket, at first you are posted as an official for Group C games.

The level of cricket played in the Ranji Trophy is different and competitive. As you do well, you earn your way to officiate in matches involving the top teams.

You first get to officiate in league games of the tournament and when you do well, you get knockout games.

When you clear that stage, you get Duleep Trophy, Irani Trophy and the Challenger Trophy. Some of these matches are even televised and by now, you are well aware in the circuit. A good show will once again result in further promotion and you get to officiate in practice matches or A games involving the visiting teams.

At every stage you are being assessed and they give you feedback. The ability to withstand pressure is also checked. When you tick all the boxes, you go to the international panel.

The pressure at the international level can be demanding and thus you first get home series. You start with either being the third umpire or the fourth umpire and later get the distinction of being an on field umpire. If you perform well, you get to join the ICC elite panel.

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K. Hariharan - Here’s how you can become BCCI umpire

Umpire K. Hariharan gives a roadmap on how to pursue umpiring professionally in this two-part series

Umpiring as a career can be rewarding, but one needs to work hard and be patient to reach to the top. There are various stages that one has to clear before being eligible to officiate in an international game. Like cricketers, umpires too are judged on the basis of their consistent show.
It is not necessary for you to have played competitive cricket before, but having played the game gives you an advantage. The first step is to register with your respective state association as it is the state association that forwards the name to the BCCI.

When you register, you must be well conversant with the rules of the game. You should be thorough with the Laws of Cricket. The books are available in the market for you to study. Also, a lot of material is available on the internet. That is the homework one has to do. Initially it has to be your passion and your interest that will take you further.

Once you get to officiate in local matches, you need to start proving your mettle. The state association will then forward your name for the Level 1 examination conducted by the BCCI every year or once every two years. 

The Board will also arrange for coaching classes for three days. Well qualified umpires and experts on the subject will ensure that all the candidates appearing for the examination are well prepared. 

The fourth day is reserved for a written examination. Candidates are shortlisted on the basis of merit. The shortlisted ones have to come for an induction course where further doubts on the laws of the game are addressed.

There is one more examination for shortlisted candidates, which may also be practical and oral. Those who clear this have to appear for Level 2 which is generally held after a period of one year.

The Level 2 examination is a combination of written, practical and viva. Those who clear this then have to appear for a medical test. When one completely clears Level 2, one more induction course is be conducted following which you get recognized as BCCI umpire. 

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