The achievement in the recently concluded men’s one-day cricket World Cup was nothing but a huge disappointment for Bangladesh. But beyond the performances of the players one big achievement may be found- Sharfuddoula Ibne Shahid. He became the first Bangladeshi field umpire to conduct matches in a World Cup and he did his duty in five matches that yielded plaudits. He was also the fourth umpire in three matches including the opening match between England and New Zealand. The Bangladeshi umpire shared his experience of the World Cup with Prothom Alo over phone on Wednesday.
You became the first Bangladeshi umpire to conduct a match. What was your experience?
Before leaving for the World Cup, I had said that getting a chance to conduct World Cup matches was expected for me. When you have expectations, you do have a preparation. In that sense I was prepared mentally. I did not want to envisage that as big. It is obviously a matter of pride that I conducted World Cup matches as the first Bangladeshi umpire. But for me the biggest achievement as an umpire is to conduct Test matches that I had already done. Now, I have added a new chapter in my career. I am satisfied with my performance. I think I have achieved the honour.
You were an umpire in some well-discussed match, which one did you enjoy most?
My beginning was good. The wicket was good in this World Cup. Record was made in Delhi, during the match between Sri Lanka and South Africa, three centuries were registered. One of them was the fastest in World Cup history. Maxwell broke that record two days later against Netherlands. Afghanistan beat England. The Netherlands beat South Africa. I was on duty in those matches. The match between Australia and New Zealand yielded around 800 runs. I was on the field. I was the fourth umpire when Maxwell scored a double ton. I really enjoyed all those matches. Those matches were full of excitement, I was also part of the excitement.
Conducting the opening match of the World Cup must have added extra excitement…
I really felt honoured. I was the reserve umpire during the opening match. It was something special for me.
All in all, what sort of reaction did you get about your performance in the World Cup?
I am experienced as an international umpire. I may not yet become an elite umpire but I think I have made marks in this World Cup.
The ability of controlling the field is considered as one of the vital gauges of an umpire’s performance. What was your experience in this regard?
Player management and time management are two vital aspects of an umpire's performance. The job of an umpire is not confined to give outs and not outs. Whether one can control the time management is more important than giving the right decisions. Whether an umpire has the capacity of leading or being helpful to colleagues are also vital matters to evaluate an umpire.
Now the role of television umpires has increased a lot. Other than DRS they are also making decisions about no-ball…
Yes, the range has been widened. Now almost every decision is taken by a television umpire. That is happening due to technology. One has to look for the front-foot in every delivery stride. How you are communicating during review is also very vital. Not many matches in our domestic league are televised. So, we do not get chances to grow our habit. As the time progresses the importance of tv umpiring is rising. It is a completely different matter; one must have clear ideas about the laws of the game and playing conditions.
You talked about the wicket of the World Cup. What is the relationship between wicket and umpiring?
The wickets of the World Cup were ideal for one-day cricket. Cricket is at the end of the day a game of bat and bowl. But if the match is played on a good track the job of the umpires gets easier. If there is good bounce and not much turn, then the self-confidence of the umpire increases. Like the players, we also can understand how the pitch will behave after observing one or two deliveries. Then it becomes easier to make decisions.