Mumbai Sport

‘Grab the opportunities as they come’

Umpires Claire Polosak (left) and Kathleen Cross, who will be officiating in the World T20.   | Photo Credit: B_JOTHI RAMALINGAM

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History will be made in the 2016 ICC World Twenty20 when for the first time two women umpires, Kathleen Cross and Claire Polosak, will officiate.

New Zealand’s Cross will stand in the match between West Indies and Pakistan on March 16 in Chennai while 27-year old Polosak will officiate the New Zealand-Ireland tie in Mohali two days later.

In 2002, Cross became the first woman to be a fourth umpire in a Test between New Zealand and England in Wellington and in 2014 the first woman to be added to ICC Associate and Affiliate Panel of International Umpires.

On Wednesday, the duo spoke about women umpires, their role models and more.

( Excerpts)

How much has the scenario for women umpires changed since the time you started?

Kathleen: There has been a lot of progress for women in the pathway towards officiating in cricket. Of course it has to start in your own country and then the opportunities go forward and this is how Claire and I have been awarded our first T20 World Cup tournament.

Who are the umpires you idolise, especially in a format where there is little margin for error?

Claire: Growing up, Simon Taufel was definitely my idol.

But nowadays, it is taking little bits out of all the elite panel umpires.

Kathleen: Likewise, with me being in New Zealand, it was Tony Hill and Billy Bowden. They were the people that I learnt quite a bit from.

Is there significant difference between the behaviour of men and women?

Claire: I’d say there are some differences between the women’s and men’s cricket. But I would say the intensity is the same. They are out there to win the game. But sometimes the atmosphere can be a little bit different. I think the girls don’t get as hot-headed, like the men do sometimes. But everyone is there to win a game of cricket, to take 10 wickets and to score as many runs as possible.

How much has your country’s cricket board helped you to reach where you are today? Suggestions to set a pathway for the women umpires in India?

Kathleen: ÿIt’s been great I’ve had some very good opportunities. And it is all about taking those opportunities when they come. Sometimes you have to make choices and those choices are quite harsh to make. However, the pathway for women has been very narrow in the past. It is probably in the last two or three years that we have seen more women coming through at this level and it is great to see that. For them to get the opportunities, they have to do the hard yards, just like the men. There is no special preference.

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Printable version | Jul 22, 2017 7:31:13 PM | http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/sport/grab-the-opportunities-as-they-come/article8332947.ece