After being the fourth umpire for IPL during the last four seasons, K.N. Ananthapadmanabhan will now be the on-field umpire for the upcoming season of the T20 extravaganza.

The former Kerala captain, who is into his ninth season as first class umpire, has officiated in 195 matches including 40 Ranji Trophy matches and women’s one-day internationals. Ananthapadmanabhan, who retired as the highest wicket taker and most successful player for Kerala in Ranji Trophy in 2004, passed the BCCI umpire’s test in 2006. “Even when I was a player I was interested in umpiring. I was aware of all rules and regulations in cricket. And after retiring it was an easy decision for me to become an umpire,” said Ananthapadmanabhan, who is also a qualified coach and runs his own academy in the outskirts of Thiruvananthapuram.

Ananthapadmanabhan says his appointment as the on field umpire for IPL was a natural progression. “From fourth umpire to the match umpire in IPL is natural progression. It is also result of my performance as umpire in the last nine seasons. Contrary to what people think umpiring standards are pretty high in India especially in the last four years. Ever since BCCI appointed Simon Taufel to mentor Indian umpires, the standard has gone up. I personally gained a lot after attending seminars conducted by Taufel and I believe the same with others. There is healthy competition between umpires and considering that, I am happy that I have been given an opportunity to officiate in IPL this season,” he said.

Umpiring not just about decision-making

“To the layman umpiring is just decision making on the field but it is beyond that. To me a good umpire is someone who should be able to handle pressure and he should be in tune with technology. He should also be a good communicator both to the players and to the third umpire. The umpires in the past also used to make mistakes but with the advent of technology, it has become more glaring now. To err is human but a good umpire is someone who minimizes that error,” said Ananthan who idolizes former Indian captain Venkatraghavan and Simon Taufel.

“I was always in awe of Venkatraghavan especially his decision making and his interpretation of rules. He was a former player and Indian captain and a towering personality. You think twice before you appeal when such personalities stand as umpire,’’ says Ananthapadmanabhan.

“There is good relationship between Indian umpires we often discuss and exchange ideas. Senior umpires like Ravi who is in ICC panel are very helpful and encourage juniors,” says Ananthapadmanabhan who works as PRO with Indian Overseas Bank in Thiruvananthapuram.