Mumbai: The BCCI recommended three umpires on Friday for the International Cricket Council's Elite Panel, Amish Saheba, Suresh Shastri and G A Pratap Kumar to replace A V Jayaprakash, K Hariharan and I Sivaram.
But there is still no serious contender to make it to the very top.
Ever since Srinivas Venkatraghavan retired, India hasn't had an umpire in the ICC's Elite Panel. And by the look of it, the story will repeat itself.
According to the ICC report on the umpire assessment committee headed by Sunil Gavaskar, the performance of Indian umpires has been inconsistent, sub-standard and they have displayed a poor sense of judgment.
Sanjay Manjrekar, former India batsman and now a television commentator, says: "A country like India has one match referee and no umpires. So I think we need to have somebody there, but somebody who can make us proud."
Malcolm Speed, the CEO of the ICC, says: "Former umpires assess the decision making of current umpires, they rank them and make recommendations to Sunil and myself, and we act on their recommendations. We also interview the umpires."
For quite a few years now, Ranji captains have been complaining of sub-standard umpiring. Taking this feedback into consideration the sub committee on the umpires decided that the umpires’ performance over the last six years would be reviewed and about 25 umpires will be replaced by new appointments.
M P Pandove, joint secretary of the BCCI, says: "Two methods which we are having right now are medical examination of all the umpires, and also we assess their performance during the last 10 days. Based on that, eliminations and promotions are done."
Video analysis of umpires’ performances will also begin in the new season, a practice that has proved to be successful with Cricket Australia.
Apart from this, Venkatraghvan was appointed as the Director of Umpires in India. He would shortlist a former international umpire to groom the Indian aspirants. Former English umpire David Shepherd is the prime candidate for the job.
Lalit Modi, the Vice President of the BCCI, says: "We had recommended his name to be coming in and I’m waiting for a positive feedback from him (Shepherd) that he would be available in India to do the job for us on a regular basis."
For the last two years the BCCI has nominated umpires Sivram, Jayaprakash and Hariharan for the ICC’s Elite Panel.
But finding their performance unsatisfactory, the ICC requested for fresh faces, following which the BCCI announced the candidature of new umpires. However, it will be an uphill task for the three umpires.