Hate my Decissions....
Have you ever had an incident in your life in which you hated yourself the most coz u blew up the one thing you liked the most. If not then be strong for such and occasion. Last weekend (Saturday) our UKCC cricket team played against Dayton (the organisers of MOCL Cup). We batted first and as usual I was sent in as the leg Umpire. Umpiring has been my passion right from my childhood. The reason was attributed to the fact that the famous Indian cricket umpire Venkataragavan used to work for SPIC initially (My dad worked in that industry for 29 years). Better than that reason I never had the chance (Financial support) to go for cricket camps nor for any expert training. Though I used to play good when I was a kid, lack of proper guidance and hard luck made me go for academics (which I always love). But I was never lost with the ray of hope when it comes to cricket. Being a cricket freak I decided to become an umpire. From the age of 16 I had been standing as an umpire in most of the games played at SPIC. After coming to Chennai I had the rank opportunity to do umpiring whenever I dont field or bat.
Chennai being a place of opportunities but requiring hiked finances proved to be a tough place to survive. Though I used to stand as Ref for the gully cricket teams I started improving my umpiring skills by watching games in TV, reading some books on how to judge the movement of a good delivery etc.
This proved vital for my umpiring skills when I went into Anna University (Under grad). I was made the captain of my college team in interdepartment competition. I was also called to do ref'ing for some games. My decissions has always been good. I never quit from answering a bowler or a captain why I gave the decission and they never criticized me for what I told. I was proud of what I was turning into. Better than holding the bat I loved holding the cap of the bowler (Bad PJ).
When I got an admit in an international University (US) I told myself that I had a chance of making into the International board as an umpire from the States side. I was desperate in achieving my goal. In order to acomplish that first of all I started umpiring for our taped ball games in graduate housing ground. My captain (Dinesh Puppalla, a fervent cricketer) noticed my talent and started giving the job quite often. Though most other students thought that Umpiring is a tough job, filled with criticism and of course hours of standing said on my back that I was a fool. But for me, they are just losers. Consider the amount of concentration u need in umpiring. It developes your interpersonal skills too coz now u are considered as power but u need to use it correctly. I always liked the smile from the batsmen when I give the right decission and then when I express the reason to the fielding team, they get the point.
As a result before our MOCL tournament I was asked most of the time to do Umpiring for our UKCC side in bearcat tournament. I was good in most occassions. But unfortunately things started to change. I gave 3 bad decissions in consequitive games.
My Captain keeping his mind at me still opted to put me as the leg umpire in most of the UKCC MOCL games. I was doing pretty good. Last weekend there was this instance in which the main Umpire was on the line of view of the bowler who took the bails of somehow. I watched first the possible runout at the batsmen end, after which the ball was thrown to the bowler by the keeper and hence was asked for a decission in the runner end. Me being neutral had to make a proper decission. I clearly said to the main Umpire that the ball was not in the hand of the bowler when he hit the stumps. But there is a possibility of the ball popping out of the hands of the bowler (as he was directing the ball rather than catching and hitting). But in that case (using my engineering skills) I said that from the angle he was standing and by considering the trajectory of the ball no way that the ball was diverted to the stumps. It turned out to be a pretty good decission as the bowler revealed later that he dint hit the stumps. Everyone were thinking I lost my mind studying too much. But then they thought I was an engineering lunatic.
Then came this horrible incident in my life which I shall never forget. I was again umpiring this weekend against dayton. Rohan was the batsmen. He punched a good ball through covers and started sprinting for the runs. The first run was good and then he decided to go for the second run.
I instantly knew that this is gonna be critical. The throw was fast and flat. Rohan was near the crease. The keeper had to duck down to take the one pitch throw (pitching at the yorker spot, a difficult one for the keeper). Rohan stretched his hands to reach in. The ball went for the keeper gloves. The gloves in a fluid flow from bottom left went swift to take the stumps in the right. My eyes concentrated on the crease and the keeper gloves. It was a perfect hit by the keeper and the bat was out by 10 cms or so. Appeal by the keeper and the fielder nearby. First thought in my mind was to verify the hit by the keeper (0.2 seconds). But it was overtaken instantly by my mind to say 'Come on Hari U've been doing good. U dont think partial. So give the decission immediately' (0.2-0.3 seconds). Instantly my hand went up and the index finger pointed to the sky. Rohans out. Immediately there was this boisterous cheer among the fielding side and there was this sound coming from Prageeth (the non striker). He said 'Hey he dint even collect the ball'. I saw the main ref and from his looks I realized that Prageeth was right. Shame filled my mind instantly. Prageeth shouted at me to go out and send some one else as the umpire. I was so depressed taht I did exactly as he said. I went out and sat alone and cursed myself for the wrong decission. Captain came and said one thing. 'What was the hurry in lifting the finger?'
Later I apologized to Rohan for the decission. But the bitter part was that though I was cursing myself for the lack of judgement, most of my teammates commented that from next time onwards they would tie my hands behind my back with ductape and then shall send me for leg umpiring. It was so piercing for me. I had to fake a laugh.
Till now I feel bad about my judgement and have no faith in continuing my passion. But who knows I might be really made to do umpiring again in my life someday. Thats when things are gonna get messier....