RANJI TROPHY 2018-19
Representational Image: Umpires ranked 5 to 32 haven’t been picked for Ranji Trophy matches in December. © Getty
Even as it has received praise for allotting women umpires for the under-23 Col CK Nayudu Trophy matches, the Indian cricket board (BCCI) is on a sticky wicket regarding the absence of senior men’s umpires from the domestic scene.
The Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) has alleged that the board deputed lower-ranked umpires for the Ranji Trophy and other domestic tournaments in December, even as higher-ranked umpires – five of whom belong to Bengal – have been snubbed.
CAB secretary Avishek Dalmiya, in an email – of which TOI has a copy – to KVP Rao, assistant GM, cricket operations of BCCI, wrote: “I’m constrained to write this e-mail to you regarding the posting of the BCCI umpires allocated yesterday by the board in the upcoming matches to be played in Dec 2018. In this regard, you’re aware that the ranking of the umpires for the season has been done by the BCCI, and as per that, the highest ranking umpires are given the priority when allotments are done.
“However, we’ve been given to understand that despite the above policy in place, yesterday when the allotment were made, it was observed that while one to four ranked umpires were given postings in Ranji Trophy games, five to 32 ranked umpires were not considered for posting in Ranji Trophy matches to be played in December. The most surprising factor here is that again, the umpires who are ranked 33-35 in Group C were considered for Ranji Trophy matches.”
Dalmiya goes on to add. “One fails to understand the above position as it’s very disheartening and discouraging for the umpires who are in the rank 5 to 32 bracket (except No 19), because it’s a dream of every umpire to officiate in Ranji Trophy matches belonging to first-class category.”
The CAB secretary has pointed out that as many as “five umpires from Bengal fall within this above-effered bracket, and we as an association feel that the umpires from the state should not be deprived of getting an opportunity, if they actually deserve as per the policy set by the board.”
Dalmiya wants the BCCI to correct this situation. “Therefore, in view of the above, and also since there’s considerable amount of time before the commencement of such matches, we would request you to kindly look into the above matter with seriousness and explore if any adjustments to the postings could be made, so that the rationale behind the ranking system is retained, and at the same time, the interest of the better-rankled umpires is protected,” Dalmiya wrote.
BCCI GM Saba Karim told TOI on Tuesday: “I’ve got the letter. I’ll have a look at it. I’ll see what the reason is and give an appropriate reply.” Another official said, “It shouldn’t have happened. The umpires’ postings are done in a very transparent manner. We appoint umpires according to grades. We also look at the possibility of neutrality.”