Ranatunga for using local umpires to avoid controversies

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Colombo, Jan 16 (UNI) Sri Lanka's World Cup winning skipper and chief of Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC), Arjuna Ranatunga, has suggested that cricket-playing nations should employ more local umpires to stand at international matches to avoid growing controversies.

''Taking the present status quo into consideration even the ICC elite umpires who are neutral, seem to be making mistakes.

In my personal view, I think they should employ two local umpires to stand at the matches while an elite umpire assisted by the match referee would guide the two umpires with dicey decisions that they are uncertain of,'' local Sunday Times newspaper has quoted Ranatunga as saying.

''In this manner I feel that the local umpiring standards will also improve in the respective countries. Now see Sri Lanka and India despite playing in the highest division do not have an umpire in the elite panel. This means that there is stagnation among the local rankers,'' he said.

His remarks have come at a time when the ICC elite panel umpires are under heavy fire from former players and governing bodies, with a couple of controversial decisions by ICC elite panel umpires Steve Buknor and Mark Benson during the second test between India and Australia have not only changed the course of the match, but also threaten to halt the series.

Stressing his personal view on the local umpiring, Ranatunga has said the ICC-appointed Match referee, who himself would be a respected cricket veteran, would be the one who will be assisting and guiding the local umpires throughout the game and helping them in all decisions upon being requested.

''At the same time the two ICC representatives will also scrutinise the performance of two local umpires. If the ICC representatives feel that there is an element of bias in any of the local umpires they will have the liberty to report them to the ICC and the ICC in turn will impose a ban on the local umpires (for one or two years) depending on the gravity of the mistakes,'' the SLC chief has pointed out.

''What I mean is that in an era where the players are banned for various matters why not umpires who have the advantage of making use of the modern technology and who play an equal responsibility in the final outcome of the game should not be penalized,'' the veteran Sri Lankan cricketer has said, adding that this would help a match to have a relatively cleaner and better result.

Sri Lanka is leaving for Australia next week to play a triangular one-day series involving Australia and India.

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