Greetings from Kolkata. It’s been busy time here in India since my last correspondence on the 8th. I’ve been to Jaipur, Mumbai and now in Kolkata. During that time I’ve had the fortune of being 3rd umpire for three matches in the air conditioned comfort and out of the 40 degree heat. Even with all our matches starting at 8pm, the place just does not seem to get any cooler!
The last week in Mumbai has been a productive one on the personal fitness front. Our security liaison officer, Gary Draper has been helping me to build some muscle in places I never thought I had. Gary was a former Springbok rugby player and as you can see from the photo below, is not someone that you would want to get on the wrong side of. Having said that, he has to be one of the best and most respectable SLO’s I’ve come across.
It was indeed good to have a training partner and we met every second day where I joined him for a weights session, but he never seemed to join me for a cardio session – oh well, at least I’m confident that I could out run him!
All the training sessions were necessary given our eating habits in Mumbai. We found a buffet restaurant in Bandra (Mumbai) which had a mixture of Japanese and Chinese foods. Apart from the quality and freshness of the food, the best part of the place was the desert bar and its multiple flavours of Baskin Robbins ice cream. My former dietician at Cricket Australia would kill me if she found out that one night I managed to consume 10 scoops of various flavours! At least I was in good company with Gary, Dev and the other umps supporting the team effort.
We finished up in Mumbai a couple of days ago with the local Pune Warriors taking on the Kolkata Night Riders. It was nearly a full stadium to see Pune’s last match – they were not in a position to progress to the finals next week. One of the great sights here is how the local cheerleaders dress and display the traditional costumes and colours. As you can see below, they leave everything to the imagination which is different to most other countries and sporting events!
The match finished with Kolkata easy winners over Pune in the end but the heat was still present – it was great to get off the ground and hop into a cold shower and fresh change of clothes. We didn’t get out of the ground until just after midnight and arrived back at the hotel around 1am.
It’s been great working with Dev Govindjee (South African Match Referee), and the local BCCI umpires. They have been excellent company both on and off the field. As I said, we have frequented some very good restaurants, but the shopping expeditions have been interesting too. Going out with Dev and the others has been an expensive exercise as you cannot help but buy something every time you go out. Dev has managed to fill his suitcases with gifts for family back home while most stocks in the Puma stores have been depleted by us.
It hasn’t all been play for us, as we organized a training session at the Mumbai Cricket Academy and did an indoor judgment activity on ball pitching with LBW decisions. They have a great facility here and the staff were very helpful to us achieve some interesting results.
So, having just arrived in Kolkata, we are preparing for the last game of the league round with an important game of local team (the Kolkata Knight Riders) up against the Mumbai Indians. Following this big game I’m due to head back to Mumbai for the semi final and playoff game and then on to Chennai for the Chennai for the second semi final and final. It’s going to be a full on week of umpiring and travel with 4 games in 5 days. Well, at least I should be fit for it given Gary’s help and guidance!
All the best and take care.
Inside the juggernaut – Simon Taufel on umpiring big cricket.
Australian cricket umpire Simon Taufel has kindly agreed for the Museum to publish his blogs from major world tournaments. Featuring unique insights into the challenges and rewards of touring and umpiring at the top level, the Museum gratefully acknowledges Simon’s permission to reproduce his work.