Simon Taufel has delivered a thought-provoking 2013 MCC Spirit of Cricket Cowdrey Lecture which centered on the theme of respect in cricket and explored issues such as the use of technology in the game and the scope of the role of umpires.
The former international umpire discussed his own route to the top level, highlighting some of the attributes and skills which made him ICC Umpire of the Year a record five years in succession.
Australian Taufel described the use of technology as being ‘the genie let out of the bottle’ and spoke of the importance of using it to improve the accuracy of umpiring at the top level and ‘deliver more justice’.
He added: “Perhaps we should be asking “are we using technology in the best way to serve the players, supporters, umpires and values of our game?” No matter what system of technology review / referral we implement in our game, it will not be perfect or 100%.
“The all-human solution is not 100%, neither is the DRS and neither will be an “all appeals” review system.
“There are trade offs and compromises with every system adopted. It all depends how the majority believe our game should be played underpinned with the values we want to promote and preserve the Spirit of Cricket.”
Having now moved into a role as Umpire and Performance and Training Manager at the ICC, as well as acting as an ex-officio on MCC’s Laws sub-committee Taufel is among the highest authorities in the world on issues of cricket officiating.
In a warmly received, often humourous address, Taufel, who has now moved into a role as Umpire and Performance and Training Manager at the ICC told his story of rising through the ranks as an official.
Using photos and video as aids, Taufel was thought-provoking on his interpretation of the Spirit of Cricket, with the theme of hard work, humility and, above all respect running throughout the speech.
He also discussed the changes to the game since he first took up umpiring, noting the ‘invasive nature of television,’ and the intense scrutiny placed on umpires in the 21st century.
The speech was followed by a panel discussion featuring Taufel, Mike Gatting and Eoin Morgan, which was chaired by cricket commentator Alison Mitchell.
Full video of the speech and panel discussions are now available to watch on Lord’s TV.