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Board of Control for Cricket in India

Limited DRS in Ranji Trophy final and preparations for the road ahead

By Ameya Tilak in

The Ranji Trophy 2019-20 final was historic for more reasons than one. While Saurashtra lifted their maiden Ranji Trophy title, the final also became the first-ever in the history of the tournament where the limited DRS was used.

S Ravi, K N Ananthapadmanabhan and Yashwant Barde (replaced Shamshuddin 3rd day onwards) were a part of the team of the match officials which officiated in what turned out to be the last match before the lockdown in the wake of COVID-19.

The three spoke to about their experience of covering the Ranji Trophy final and how they are using this phase to prepare themselves for the road ahead in the post-corona times.

“It was a welcome move to use Limited DRS,” the trio said.

“I looked at it in a positive way when the decision was overturned using the technology,” said Barde, while speaking about the introduction of the limited DRS.

K N Ananthapadmanabhan, meanwhile, revealed how the presence of S Ravi and C Shamshuddin helped the matters.

“It helped that Mr S Ravi and Mr C Shamshuddin, who have had the experience of officiating in the international games where the DRS was used, were a part of the PCT for the final. We were in Rajkot two days prior to the Ranji Trophy final and the two briefed us about the kind of decisions that can be referred, what we should be doing and what can be the reviews that can come under the DRS.”

S Ravi, who had officiated in the first-ever pink-ball Test, meanwhile, highlighted what was the chat between him and his colleagues before the limited DRS came into effect in the Ranji Trophy 2019-20.

“We discussed the processes and protocols that we are going to follow during the match. As part of our pre-match preparations, we had a chat with the director about the tools which were available for the games.”

“We also had a discussion with the captain and managers of the teams and explained to them what we are going to do (in regards with the limited DRS) in the match. Captains and the Managers of both the teams had a few queries which were addressed to their satisfaction.

Barde had officiated in the semi-final between Bengal and Karnataka at the Eden Gardens and also came in as a replacement for the finals due to an unfortunate injury to C Shamshuddin on the opening day. Barde who had gone back after the semi-finals had to rush to Rajkot.

“I reached Rajkot on the second day (in the night) of the final and was on the field on the third day as Mr Shamshuddin was injured and had to leave. I reached Rajkot by 10-10.30 pm on March 10. Then, I met the match referee Manu Nayar and S Ravi. Both made me relax. There were some nerves for me, around an hour or so on Day three. But S Ravi and K N Ananthapadmanabhan kept on encouraging me with their kind words,” said Barde, before adding how BCCI’s constant support in terms of logistics arrangements helps him focus on the job.

"I really want to thank BCCI for considering my performances over the years and help me be at this level. The BCCI operations team takes good care of us match officials, of all the logistics and our travel. This helps us to concentrate on our preparation and focus on the game.”

While the prevailing situation has put sports among many other things on the back burner across the globe, the trio, in addition to their other colleagues, are making the most of their time, dividing it with their family, meditating, exercising and revising the laws of cricket and playing conditions.

“We also have discussions with the Level 1 and Level 2 umpires. It is helpful for them and refreshes our knowledge as well. That way, we are keeping ourselves occupied," said K N Ananthapadmanabhan.

"I read the laws and in the free time, watch the matches. We were also given the third-umpire’s material. So, I am also going through the same. Additionally, some work at home, helping my family," said Barde.

S Ravi shed more light on what are some of the methods he and his colleagues are following to upgrade their umpiring skills.

“I have a lot of discussions with the umpires. A lot of umpires send some queries and clips. So, a lot of clarification, interpretations etc. I do quite a lot of Skype chats with the BCCI as well as foreign umpires,” said S Ravi.

Asked what will be his tips for the budding umpires, S Ravi advised: “Keep working hard. Take at least one small step towards your goal/ambition and be ready when the opportunity comes.”