Cricket

Veteran umpire Kulkarni welcomes move to empower officials

Vinayak Kulkarni.

Vinayak Kulkarni.

The move to give umpires the power to eject a player from the field has evoked varied reactions in the cricket fraternity.

At a meeting in Mumbai, the MCC World Cricket Committee batted for the umpires who have reportedly been at the receiving end from the players.

The committee recommended that umpires be given the power “to eject cricketers from a game for serious disciplinary breaches” such as threatening an umpire, physically assaulting another player, umpire, official or spectator, and any other act of violence on the field.

The umpires are bound to welcome the move, especially veteran international Vinayak Kulkarni from Bengaluru.

Manjrekar incident

He had sent off India batsmen Sanjay Manjrekar for a session in a first-class match for misdemeanour. The incident took place in December 1994 at Solapur during a Bombay-Maharashtra Ranji Trophy match.

Taking objection to what Manjrekar had to say about the officiating, following excessive appealing by the Bombay players, Kulkarni warned the concerned team. As captain, Manjrekar was expected to exercise control over his team.

Bombay, however, did not relent and Kulkarni, using the power within his rights, told Manjrekar to leave the field. This happened in the first session of the day and Manjrekar, obviously stunned, had no choice but to leave the field.

After lunch, Kulkarni noticed Manjrekar’s absence and checked with acting captain Sameer Dighe. “You only sent him off Sir,” was Dighe’s response. The umpire then informed Dighe that the send-off was only for the session and Manjrekar was free to return to the field.

“I was acting within the powers bestowed upon me by the authorities. It was a tough decision and I was told that since I had acted against an India player my career would be in jeopardy. But I was only doing my duty and ensuring that we did not lose control over the game,” recalled Kulkarni.

“I am grateful to the BCCI for supporting my action,” said Kulkarni from Bengaluru. The then BCCI Secretary Jagmohan Dalmiya had called to express his support to Kulkarni, who went on to officiate in One Day Internationals five years later.

Pioneer

Manjrekar, however, was not the first to get matching orders from the field. Vijay Mohan Raj, who played for Bombay and later for Hyderabad, was the first to earn that ‘distinction’ in December 1986 in a Ranji Trophy match at Bangaore.

Hyderabad was playing Karnataka and umpire Bomi Jamula sent off Mohan Raj for a session for sledging. “Tempers ran high on both sides,” remembered the then Hyderabad captain and India leg-spinner M.V. Narasimha Rao.

In Jamula’s words, “it was a matter of maintaining the umpires’ honour. I had to be strict even though it was only my fourth first-class match.”

Jamula, who was not given another match that season, too graduated to stand in One Day Internationals.


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Printable version | Jun 29, 2022 8:40:31 am | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/cricket/Veteran-umpire-Kulkarni-welcomes-move-to-empower-officials/article16784009.ece