Dubai, Sept 22: Teamwork, technology and integrity in performance will be the key themes of the ICC match officials’ conference, which will be held in Dubai from 23 to 25 September.
The intensive three-day seminar will be attended by members of the Emirates Elite Panels of ICC Umpires and ICC Match Referees, members of the Emirates International Panel of ICC Umpires and the ICC Associate and Affiliate International Umpires’ Panel as well as the five newly appointed Regional Umpire Performance Managers (RUPMs).
Umpire managers from each of the 10 Full Members have also been invited in order to assist in the implementation of consistent logistical support for officials and to share umpiring development strategies.
There will be talks, workshops and question-and-answer sessions relating to all aspects of officiating at the higher levels as well as an opportunity to see first-hand how the ICC Umpires` and Referees` Department has been strengthened in recent months.
“Getting the decisions correct is the key performance area for match officials and therefore it’s our primary focus. Massive preparation is required for them to progress to the elite level,” said ICC Umpires’ and Referees’ Manager Vince van der Bijl.
“Cricket is a team sport and so is umpiring. Even though it sometimes seems like all the focus is on one umpire, it is important to realise that the team approach is significant for success as well.
“These officials have worked hard to become the best umpires and referees in the world. And they have to work even harder to stay at the top. This annual meeting is a vital part of that ongoing improvement process.
“It is an opportunity for umpires and referees to meet in one place and discuss – both formally and informally – the various aspects of their jobs and how to implement best practice so that the right decisions are made when the heat is on.
“Umpires and referees are human and of course mistakes will be made but through the hard work they put in as well as the sensible implementation of technology, those mistakes can be minimised,” said van der Bijl.
“This gathering will have 65 of the most experienced and highly qualified cricket officials in the world together for the first time, making this a special and unique occasion. It will also be the first time the officials have the chance to work together with the five RUPMs,” he added.
Delegates will arrive on Tuesday and there will be a chance for the RUPMs to meet with officials from their respective regions and discuss informally a wide range of issues.
It will also be an opportunity for match officials to talk to ICC staff about any matters related to the smooth running of cricket around the world from their point of view.
The conference will continue on day two with the officials being taken through the newly bolstered Umpires’ and Referees’ Department, particularly with the introduction of the RUPMs and the appointment of van der Bijl as the department head.
There will be a practical workshop on how to improve teamwork followed by a session dealing with playing control team protocols.
Thursday morning will be given over to discussing the decision review system that was trialed during a recent Test series in Sri Lanka. There will be a full report presented from that trial, in particular calling on the experience of the match referee and umpires who were directly involved.
Given the ICC Chief Executives’ Committee (CEC) has agreed to further trials taking place in the near future, there will also be a chance to see how those further trials will be conducted with an emphasis on the practical side of implementing the playing conditions in this regard.
There will be an update from the Anti-Corruption and Security Unit as to how that feature of the game is being dealt with, and the part that match officials continue to play in fighting corruption in cricket.
Some of the umpires and referees will then lead a discussion on interpretations for Test and ODI playing conditions. This will include such topics as pre-match processes, substitute fielders, use of artificial lighting, reverse sweeping, pitch protection and many other aspects of the playing of the game.
This part of the conference is particularly significant and timely as 1 October marks the implementation date for new Test and ODI playing conditions that were agreed upon by the CEC in June. Details of those can be found at.
“This conference is part of the ICC’s continued support of match officials. We recognise they have a difficult job to do, sometimes under enormous pressure. Our purpose at the ICC is to create the right climate to enable them to be the very best they can be,” said Van der Bijl.
As part of the conference, there will also be an opportunity for the officials to listen to a presentation from adventurer and environmentalist Lewis Pugh. Last year, wearing just Speedos, Pugh shocked the world by swimming one Kilometer in an open patch of icy sea near the North Pole in an effort to draw attention to the dramatic melting of the polar ice caps. He will reveal his insights into leadership, teamwork and the power of the mind.