The four-day first-class competition National Cricket League is the most challenging domestic competition for Bangladeshi umpires claimed international umpire Sharfuddoula Ibn Shahid and said the harsh criticism from players and clubs alike made their job only harder.
‘NCL is more challenging than any other domestic T20s and one-dayer,’ Sharfuddoul told New Age in an interview on Tuesday before flying to Dubai to officiate in the ICC Twenty20 World Cup Qualifiers.
‘There is much more implication of laws and it also requires a higher level of concentration and fitness. NCL is always very challenging,’ he added.
Over the years, in different domestic competitions, many clubs and players have accused umpires of being influenced by outer forces and making biased decisions in crucial stages of the match.
Sharfuddoula denied of any outer influence while officiating in NCL but hoped the board would further scrutinise the umpires for the competition before appointing them.
‘There is no influence here. In NCL, we are completely free. There may be some occurrences in some matches. But there is no outer influence in NCL.
‘NCL matches are of the country’s highest level. Best umpires are appointed here. But if the appointments were monitored a little bit more, it would be better,’ he said.
Sharfuddoula, however, was critical of the way umpiring mistakes were treated in the country as he felt that umpires were not given chances to improve from their wrong decisions and were subjected to unfair criticism, which made their job even more difficult.
‘We view umpiring differently than ICC. Everyone makes mistakes. But rather than learning a lesson from the mistake, we fall under more pressure.
‘Umpires are not defined only based on their decision making. On a given day anyone can make a mistake. We are good umpires and more often than not we make correct decisions,’ he said.
In domestic competitions, umpires are often seen struggling to control players and club officials, with players walking out and club officials creating a ruckus becoming a recurring feature.
Sharfuddoula accepted that the domestic umpires are lacking in some crucial umpiring traits and felt they can command more respect from players on the field if they improve on their shortcomings.
‘There is a DRS [Decision Review System] to rectify mistakes. But knowledge of playing condition, player controlling and management, these qualities are lacking in our umpires.
‘Players also need to show more respect towards umpires and it will not increase unless we become stronger in those aspects,’ he said.
The Bangladesh Cricket Board is in talks with Sri Lanka to bring Sri Lankan umpires for the forthcoming edition of NCL, starting from Thursday, under the Umpire Exchange Programme.
Bangladesh earlier was part of the programme with West Indies and Sri Lanka from 2010 to 2014 and many the countries exchanged umpired to officiate in their country’s first-class competition.
Sharfuddoula welcomed the re-continuation of the initiative as he felt it would help the country’s umpires improve their skills.
‘It has been closed for the last three-four years. Why was it so, you have to ask the board. I have heard that they are having discussions for doing it this year. But I am not sure. I know that talks are going on. If this happens it will be very good.
‘Just like A team and other teams benefit from abroad tours even if they lose. We can also learn about different environments. Experience in other countries could help umpires get picked for international matches.’