There are many tools available to make an umpire’s job a little bit easier. Any self-respecting umpire will make sure to have these tools available to them for evaluating the weather and making sure players are using the proper equipment.
Cricket umpires use tools to help with their work. These tools are useful for many elements of the game’s play, such as keeping track of the number of balls bowled, ensuring that all the equipment is the right size, and even determining whether the playing circumstances are suitable.
Umpires can stay on top of all these tasks with the help of a variety of available technologies. The top and most commonly used tools for umpires nowadays are listed below. Every umpire should be aware of these; some are necessities, while others are not quite there yet.
1. Ball Counter
Every cricket umpire must have a ball counter. It is a compact, portable gadget used to keep track of the number of balls bowled in each over and the overall number of overs bowled.
An umpire wants to spend all of his mental attention on more challenging components of the game, such as whether or not that final ball is pitched outside the line of off stump or not, and worry less about counting because there are at least six balls in an over and frequently more than 40 overs in a match.
2. Stump Gauge
The umpire must verify the proper positioning of the stumps before the game begins. Before play begins, umpires can swiftly inspect the dimensions of the stump placements with this frightening but straightforward piece of equipment.
A careful umpire will include one of these in their arsenal to ensure the enforcement of the rules, although the responsibility for this task typically falls on the groundsmen.
Stumps must be exactly 9 inches across when lined up, with a minimum diameter of 1.38 inches. An umpire should have one of these fairly frightening-looking pieces of equipment ready to stick in the wicket before play begins to ensure that they comply with the rules.
3. Ball Gauge
Making sure the ball is the proper size and shape throughout the game is just as crucial as making sure the stumps aren’t too close together.
A round cork core is wrapped in leather to create cricket balls. The two leather hemispheres are joined together by a string binding that is attached to them.
These materials, while seemingly indestructible at the outset of the play, endure a lot of wear and tear throughout the course of a day’s play, particularly when a batter has his eye on the ball and begins sending it over the boundary.
Umpires use ball gauges to ensure that the ball has maintained its proper condition and shape so as not to disadvantage fielders or hitters with an unnatural bounce.
4. Bat Gauge
Over time, bats have come in a wide range of sizes and even materials other than the classic oak that is now widely associated with the sport. For instance, players even tried out using aluminium bats up until 1979. But in general, bats have stayed very much the same.
According to the rules of the game, a cricket bat can only be 4.25 inches (10.8 cm) wide and 38 inches (96.5 cm) long. Additionally, they must be at least 2.64 inches (67mm) deep. To ensure that bats have the proper width and form, umpires use a simple piece of equipment. If it fits through a bat, the umpire needs only to slide it over the bat; otherwise, the batter is set to go.
Also Read: What is the Weight of a Cricket Bat?
5. Light Meter
Cricket is a game where play has historically required a number of extremely particular circumstances. It’s crucial to have the proper quantity of light as well as a nice, dry field. The game might rapidly turn dangerous if it becomes too dark.
Cricket balls are infamously tough, so it’s critical that all players (and spectators) have the best visibility possible. It’s one of the factors contributing to the increased acceptance of employing floodlights and the introduction of pink and white balls in both the long and short versions of the game.
Since 2010, umpires alone have had the authority to deem that there is not enough light to continue play. Despite it being more difficult to see the ball, batters have previously been given the option to decide for themselves if they want to continue batting.
The umpire reaching for the light meter might be a welcome sight for the team fighting for a draw, and you will frequently see umpires using this piece of equipment when the sun sets towards the close of a day’s play, especially in test matches.
There are no specific guidelines regarding the required amount of light for gaming., though. As a result, even with this innovative piece of technology to assist them, it can be a challenging and contentious choice for umpires to make. Nevertheless, as a general rule, officials will stop the game if light levels drop below 1,000 lux.
You may have noticed that umpires in amateur games typically communicate by raising an eyebrow or making a modest hand motion; on rare occasions, they may yell a query to the scorers seated beyond the boundary.
However, umpires in both professional and amateur sports will employ walkie-talkies to make communication with their teammates much easier.
It can be challenging for the umpires to communicate with one another between the wicket and square leg, let alone try to speak with the third umpire, who is seated in a booth far up in the stands, especially during games with large audiences.
As a result, a lot of professional umpires employ in-ear systems that enable them to communicate with all of their teammates on the pitch. A conventional hand-held walkie-talkie can make it slightly simpler to send information to the scoring box in the amateur game, such as the bowler’s name.
7. Arm Guard
The Australian umpire turned inventor, Bruce Oxenford, offered this relatively recent idea to the cricketing globe. It is unquestionably one of the less conventional tools in the umpire’s portfolio.
Oxenford created this device in response to the 2014 death of a fellow umpire who died after taking a ball to the head while officiating a game in Israel. This incident brought to light the safety risks that umpires face.
While near fielders, wicketkeepers, and batters have permission to wear helmets, pads, and gloves, umpires stand just 22 yards from the batters without any protective gear, exposing them to potential danger.
Oxenford has utilized the prototype, which he built for himself, in both the IPL and significant international competitions. But none of his professional competitors have adopted it as a must-have item.
Some umpires now opt to wear facemasks in the baseball way, but the majority don’t seem to have taken Oxenford’s advice to heart and continue to work without protection. It remains to be seen whether his safety device will become popular among umpires in the future, but for the time being, umpires don’t always pack it in before they leave to preside.
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