Umpire Amiesh Saheba calls it a day

Saheba, who turned 60 on November 15, officiated in his last competitive match held under the aegis of the BCCI, between Bengal and Assam.

L to R: Bengal captain Abhimanyu Easwaran, Amiesh Saheba, Arun Lal and Manoj Tiwary.   -  G.Viswanath

It was so thoughtful of the Bengal Team represented by skipper Abhimanyu Easwaran, coach Arun Lal and senior batsman Manoj Tiwary to present its team jersey to umpire Amiesh Saheba at the conclusion of the last Group ‘D’ league match of the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy Twenty20 tournament at the Wankhede Stadium here on Monday.

Saheba, who turned 60 on November 15, officiated in his last competitive match held under the aegis of the BCCI on Monday, between Bengal and Assam. The Ahmedabad-based umpire was felicitated by the Mumbai Cricket Association last Friday. 

After posing for a group photograph with the Wankhede Stadium ground staff, a visibly emotional Saheba said: “On occasions there were tears in my eyes, when I visualised events of the last 30 years. He (co-umpire Sai Darshan Kumar) supported me.”

Saheba agreed with former Australian umpire Simon Taufel that a lot more has to be done to enhance the performance of Indian umpires. “It’s become a full time job. Today, the umpires don’t take umpiring as a profession; they have multiple skills. I used to tell my bank manager that 'give me four months leave for cricket and I will not take leave for eight months'. I am going to retire as chief manger from SBI this month. My targets are high, but I manage it,” said Saheba, who has played 15 first class matches for Gujarat. 

Saheba has officiated in well over hundred first class matches; also 51 ODIs, three Test matches and four Twenty20 internationals, the Twenty20 World Cup in England in 2009 and the ICC Cricket World Cup in India in 2011. He was in the ICC Panel from 2005 to 2011. He was also the winner of the BCCI’s first best umpire award in 2008-9. 

“It’s been 28 years and my first partner in a white coat was the late J. N. Jadeja from Rajkot. The old umpires have struggled. Something needs to be done for them.”

Saheba hopes to have a chat with Jay Shah, the BCCI Secretary. He thanked his wife for supporting him right through his career.