'Technology is a great tool for umpires'

Kathy Cross and Claire Polosak, the two female umpires who have been selected to officiate in the ICC World T20, feel that technology has been provided to help the umpires and not to show them in a bad light.

New Zealand umpire Kathy Cross (right) and Australian Claire Polosak addressing a press conference in Chennai.   -  B. Jothi Ramalingam

Kathy Cross and Claire Polosak, the two female umpires who have been selected to officiate in the ICC World T20, feel that technology has been provided to help the umpires and not put them in bad light.

Kathy, who became the first woman to be selected in ICC’s Associate and Affiliate panel of international umpires in 2014, said: “Back in 2000, we did not have the same technology as we have today. Technology is there to help everyone and to make sure that the right decision has been made. Using it is a great tool for umpires.”

Claire, the youngest umpire in the World T20 tournament, said: “It has changed dramatically, it is about giving umpires resources and tools, not only out on the field. Technology, which you can use to do your own assessment and reviews after the game, to see where you can improve the next time.”

Speaking about the difference in the way men and women play the game, Claire said: “There are a few differences in men’s and women’s cricket. The intensity is the same. Sometimes the atmosphere can be a little bit different. Girls don’t get as hot headed as the men do.”

Claire, 27, has never played the game. She took up officiating on an advice by a friend’s father.

“I have grown up in a town where there wasn’t any girls’ cricket. But I always followed the game. I had all the posters on my walls. When I was about 15, a friend’s dad said, ‘you like cricket, here’s the umpire’s course’. I eventually passed that and moved to Sydney. I started umpiring in the men’s competition and I have just progressed.” Claire said Simon Taufel was her role model.

Kathy has officiated in the Women's World Cup in 2009 and 2013. Speaking about how the scenario has changed for women’s umpires, Kathy said: “There are some very good opportunities. It is all about taking those opportunities. Sometimes you have to make choices, and sometimes those choices are quite harsh.

“However, the path for women has been very narrow in the past. It is probably in the last two or three years that we have seen more women coming through at this level and it is great to see that.”

“For them to get the opportunities, they have to do the hard yards, just like the men. There is no special preference. We had to work hard to pursue this career that we enjoy very much,” Kathy concluded.