Usually when we think of an umpire, we tend to imagine an aged man with stern look on his face. But gone are those days, we have a very young umpire who is enjoying his duties in local cricket. Mr. Satnam is just 24 and he is having an 8 years of experience as an umpire. Obviously that means he started umpiring at 16. Coming from Navi Mumbai, Satnam used to do umpiring in some local tournaments. He used to get 200-300 Rs for that. During that time he got guidance of Kamat sir, Vijay Patil sir and other stalwarts. He did give an MCA umpiring exam and cleared it successfully. This is how it all began for Satnam. Though he is doing umpiring, he still plays for Mazgaon Cricket Club. He is currently playing a dual role as a cricketer and as an umpire in local cricket.
Satnam officiates in all kinds of tournaments including Tennis ball cricket, club cricket and corporate cricket. Satnam says that it helps him in umpiring as he is still plays cricket for a club. There has been always a disappointment on batsman’s face when umpire gives him out. Satnam has been on both sides as an umpire and as a cricketer. He thinks that umpiring is certainly more challenging than playing cricket on field. “As a player we often target umpires thinking the decision given was wrong. But when you are on other side, you get to know how difficult it is to stand as an umpire. In 95% of the cases decisions given by umpires are correct.” Said Satnam.
He has had one bad experience when a player challenged his decision and match was halted for about half an hour. It happened in 2013-14 season at Dadar Union ground. Satnam stood by his decision and resolved the issue quite well. This was regarding leather ball cricket. But things aren’t so simple when it comes to tennis ball cricket. That’s why he thinks that it is more difficult format to officiate in. He explained, “Many times you have matches where the winning prize is 3 Lakhs or 2 Lakhs. One decision of an umpire and entire match can take a U turn. Also tennis ball bounces more compared to leather ball.That creates problem while giving LBW decisions. Hence difficulty is more in tennis ball cricket.” Out of the three formats of cricket, Satnam likes Test cricket a lot. According to him, it gives more mental and physical strength. He likes to officiate in a multiday match.
Satnam has seen many players over the years. He recollects some of the best players he has seen. “There is a player called Rohan Tondulkar. He is from IES Raja Shivaji School. He was playing against us when I was in 10th. We scored 160 batting 1st and they were 56 for 6. Then he came in and took the match away from us. He was in under 14s category then. Now he plays for MCA under 19s. There is one more player coincidently named as Rohan, Rohan Mapankar. He is a batsman and he is extremely talented. I am sure he will play in IPL soon.” Said Satnam. He also rated Surya Kumar Yadav who plays for KKR as one of the best he has ever seen. Though he plays in club cricket, he thinks that corporate cricket is much better than the earlier one when it comes to umpiring.
Satnam revealed one interesting thing about umpires. Usually if a player is playing well then umpires tend to give him a chance when there is close call of LBW or caught behind. For an evidence he said, “There was one player who was playing really good. He is a managing director in his firm. He was 50+ in age. There was an appeal of LBW, it was a close call but I gave him not out.” When that player asked him about why he was given when it was such a close call then Stanam said the same thing to him and told him that he deserved a chance. When it comes to close calls, Satnam is open for the help of technology while giving decisions. According to him, it should be used wherever possible. Once a player was trying to fix a match in tennis cricket via Satnam who was umpire. But Satnam immediately told this to organizer and the appropriate action was taking with that player.
For anyone to become a good umpire it is necessary to have good observation and listening skills. Also an umpire should be cool headed and patient, this is what he thinks. He likes to officiate at D.Y.Patil Stadium, RCF ground and Matunga Gymkhana. He has also stood as an umpire for corporate matches at Wankhede stadium and Brabourne stadium. He also likes Sassaninan and fort Vijay wicket at Azad maidan. Staying at Kamothe, Stanam has travelled to various locations in and outside Mumbai for umpiring in local cricket. According to him there are few things that must be changed with respect to umpiring in local cricket. He said, “The payments of umpires should be increased. There have been lots of agents who try to collect money from umpires. Sometimes organizers don’t give lunch facilities to umpires. Also there are some organizers who tend to follow their own rules but according to me, rules made by MCA should be followed unanimously everywhere.”
In his career so far as an umpire, he has officiated in various tournaments like One world, corporate tournaments in Navi Mumbai , DCL tournament in D.Y. Patil etc. When asked about his favorite team he said, “There are few teams which play cricket in right spirit. Sometimes even some of my friends show the respect when I am standing as an umpire in their match. I like the team of New Bombay high school. Also I have seen students from vernacular medium who study in government school. They have deep respect towards this game. They don’t have all the facilities yet they are performing significantly well. Also one world’s team is extremely good.”
Satnam likes organizers of Media cup matches and corporate matches which take place in Navi Mumbai. There umpire gets good facilities as per Satnam’s opinion. At 24, a wide range of career options is available in front of him. He is not keen in continuing umpiring and said that he does it only as fun as he gets to learn new things from it.