LAHORE: Establishing a world record in any format of international cricket is definitely a great honour, said Pakistan’s senior cricket umpire Ahsan Raza while talking to ‘The News’.
“Frankly I had never imagined to go this far in the umpiring field,” said Ahsan, 46, who became the first umpire of the world to stand in 50 T20 Internationals during the recently-played T20 home series against Zimbabwe.
Ahsan, who played club cricket in P&T Gymkhana and first-class cricket for LCCA, Faisalabad, Sargodha and HBL, said representing Pakistan in any capacity is absolutely a huge distinction. “I felt honored and privileged when I became part of PCB’s Panel of Umpires. I passed PCB’s Panel Induction Umpires Exam in 2004-5,” he said.
“I have been playing and following cricket since my childhood and also have keen interest in umpiring. Close and long affiliation with the world’s most successful umpire Aleem Dar also had a role for me to choose a career in umpiring.
“I have been doing umpiring in ODIs and T20Is since 2010 and now I’m looking forward to becoming a part of ICC’s Elite Panel of Umpires. I’m doing extra hard work to achieve this target,” he said.
He said supervising a Test match is surely a notable achievement for any umpire. “I’m still waiting to make my debut as a Test umpire,” he added.
Highlighting the feats of his umpiring career, Ahsan told: “I have participated in 14 ICC World Cup events, including T20 World Cup qualifiers 2019-20 in the UAE. Besides this, I have also supervised 57 domestic cricket finals, including 15 first-class and 19 T20s finals as field umpire. I am also the third Pakistani umpire after Aleem Dar and Mehboob Shah who have supervised ICC World Cup finals as field umpire. Standing in the Women’s T20 World Cup 2020 final at Melbourne in front of 92,000 spectators was a memorable occasion,” he said.
Ahsan said like all young cricketers he wanted to play for Pakistan. “Unfortunately that dream could not materialise but by the grace of Almighty Allah the desire of representing Pakistan has been fulfilled in umpiring which is also a great honour,” he said.
Responding to a query about the salaries or facilities being given to umpires in Pakistan, Ahsan said: “The decision to give central contracts to umpires and match referees is a great initiative taken by the PCB. One can gauge significant improvement in umpiring standard after the introduction of central contract for umpires. Now all junior and emerging umpires are really working hard to improve their umpiring and getting the lucrative contracts.”
When asked about any suggestion for the improvement of umpiring standards in Pakistan, Ahsan said PCB was doing a great job to boost umpiring standards in the country under the Umpires & Match Referees Department. “However, I would suggest that PCB should hold at least two seminars every year where the main focus should be given on improving the communication skills and knowledge of umpires about the laws and regulations,” he added.
Giving advice to young and emerging umpires, Ahsan said young umpires must work hard if they want to attain a respectable place in the umpiring field.
Source: The News