Simon Taufel: Encourage umpires to make decisions

The five-time ICC Umpire of the Year felt an umpire’s decision-making need not improve if the task of looking for no-balls was taken away from him.

Simon Taufel was candid with his views on the role of the third umpires and much-debated pink ball.   -  M. Karunakaran

Bullets flew. Frenzied shouts rent the air. It was Lahore, March 3, 2009, and many lives were on the line.

The Sri Lankan team bus and the match officials’ van was under an attack by terrorists. The van driver was killed on the spot. 

Taking cover from fire, Simon Taufel’s first reaction was to reach out for his umpire’s hat. He wanted to feel and protect it.

The celebrated Australian umpire told Sportstar on Wednesday, “My hat is like the batsman’s bat, very personal. I expected to be hit. I didn’t expect to die, something told me.” He survived.

Taufel is here to promote ‘Filling the Gaps,’ a book that draws from Taufel’s incredible life experience and teaches the readers to make the most of their ability, expand their horizons. 

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Taufel said, “You got to be yourself, not try to be somebody else. Virat Kohli played a lot of cricket under M.S. Dhoni but when he became captain, his style was different.”


The conversation shifts to having technology decide on no-ball and Taufel weighed in, “The job of the third umpire is already very busy and very complicated. Umpires should be encouraged to make decisions.”

Taufel had an interesting take on the subject. “At the moment, the playing conditions encourage the umpire to let the close one go. If the umpire calls a no-ball and that turns out to be wrong, we can’t go back and change it. But you can always check after a wicket falls.”

Taufel elaborated, “And you are not side-on. The camera is side-on. You are not in the best position. You see the landing, you don’t see the first point of contact. Or is the foot in the air, we don’t get to see that.”

And the five-time ICC Umpire of the Year felt an umpire’s decision-making need not improve if the task of looking for no-balls was taken away from him.

“For an LBW, it is very important to see from where the bowler is delivering the ball, close to the stumps or wide, which is part of your normal routine. If you don’t do that then all of a sudden your decision-making process gets broken,” he said.  

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Pink ball

The conversation shifts to pink ball and Taufel observed, “You cannot dye leather white, you cannot dye leather pink. You can impregnate the leather with the red dye. It’s not made the same way. Getting the white ball to last 50 overs is very challenging. To get a pink ball to last 80 plus overs isn’t going to happen.”

He explained, “And so that manufacturing process is more like a paint than it is a dye. It doesn’t wear and tear as a red ball does. In India, where the surfaces are more abrasive, you would see chunks come off the pink ball.”