Dharmasena, Reiffel, who next ???

February 6, 2009


Two days, two one day internationals and two ex-international cricketers make their umpiring debuts. Yesterday it was Kumara Dharmasena debuting in the India – Sri Lanka match and today it is the turn of Paul Reiffel in the Australia – New Zealand one. It is actually good to see cricketers looking beyond the commentary box post retirement. Some of the players, especially those from Asia, who have made their way into the commentary box have no business being there and one only hopes that those who turn to umpiring give no room for complaints. Records suggest that over the years, players who have opted for umpiring have, by all accounts, accredited themselves well. The names of Venkataraghavan, Willey come to mind. Asoka De Silva has been up and down. Hopefully, his second innings on the elite panel will be overall better than his first.

Given the personalities of both Dharmasena and Reiffel it is hardly surprising that, having decided to remain close to the sport post-retirement, theychose the coat over the mike, which brings up the intriguing opportunity to guess who amongst the current lot of cricketers, who are close to hanging up their boots, would turn where. Among the multivarious options that are available to them, in addition to umpiring and commentary, I am adding coaching and cricket administration (which will include allied functions like selection, talent scouting, etc). As most things go, I guess it has to do with the personalities. I would tend to categorise both Dharmasena and Reiffel in the same category as far as their personalities go. Both were industrious cricketers who although not blessed with the same natural talent as some of their team mates, were good servants of the game. They belong to the breed of cricketers who will inspire the millions who will not make the grade to keep at it and to keep dreaming however wishful it may appear to the rest of the world. They are the ones who play support to the likes of the Tendulkars, Laras, Warnes, Muralitharans and Pietersens of the world. Coming back to the question posed at the start, what would the current lot of cricketers turn to once they are done with the playing bit. Let us start with the following list, very obviously inspired by my own favoritism:

1. Rahul Dravid – Me thinks he will not have anything much to do with the game. Much like what Steve Waugh and the two of them are a mutual admiration society.

2. Sanath Jayasuriya – he comes across as being so shy that it is impossible to imagine him sitting in the box. If I am not mistaken, he has already attempted this sometime in the past and his performance at that time should kill any further ambitions that he may have in this regard. It is difficult to see Sanath as a coach, administrator etc as he, by and large, appeared weighed down by responsibility when he was captaining the Sri Lankan team. That leaves him with the umpiring option. Here, I feel that he has spent so much time actually playing the game that the sheer physical effort of umpiring may appear daunting to him. So, Sanath, in my view goes into something else. Akin to what his dear mate, Little Kalu is doing with the Tourism Ministry in Sri Lanka.

3. Mike Hussey – “High Performance Coach”/ Chief Cricket Officer of an IPL Franchise

4. Muralitharan – Nothing to do with the game. He is one of those who I cannot imagine anywhere else other than on a cricket field and enthralling thousands by playing the game.

5. Micheal Vaughan – I am willing to bet that he will be shortly sitting next to Gower, Atherton, Botham, Holding, Mark Nicholas and Bumbles in the box.

6. Tendulkar – for President ?? Seriously, if Pratibha Patil can be why not the little genius.

I guess there are a few who can do all of this with equal sincerity and success. Akash Chopra for instance. Would love to hear all your views.

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One Response to “Dharmasena, Reiffel, who next ???”

  1. Vivek Says:

    Saurav Ganguly as commentator and administrator. Can do both well.


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