Thursday, July 12, 2018

Umpire Ravi Major Milestone Sabina Park Jamaica

S Ravi moves above VK Ramaswamy to become the 2nd most capped Indian Umpire behind Venkataraghavan

‘Ravi will go even higher than where he is today’ – VK Ramaswamy 

'I have seen a transformational change in Ravi' - Mentor S Radhakrishnan
It was a historic moment for Umpire S Ravi( when he walked on to the field along with Richard Illingworth this Thursday (July 12) morning (8.30pm IST) to officiate in the 2nd test between West Indies and Bangladesh at Sabina Park in Jamaica for he became the second most capped Indian Umpire behind the legendary S Venkataraghavan.  This is Ravi’s 27th test match as an on-field umpire and he went past VK Ramaswamy, who had officiated in 26 tests during the 1980s and 90s.

Only recently, Ravi was inducted for the fourth straight year on the Elite Panel of ICC Umpires, a no mean achievement for the RBI staffer from Madras. Ravi is very proud of his achievement to be on the Elite Panel It is a great experience to be part of the Elite Panel and I have cherished every moment of it over the last three years. I take lot of pride being on the Elite Panel.”

For a man who for a large part of the first decade of this century was unsure about his future, this really is a monumental achievement as he has stamped his class on the international scene alongside international players turned umpires on the Elite Panel. He is unflussed, though, with the presence of cricketer turned umpires “I always try to better my performance and as such I don’t compete with anyone.’

Ravi will scale higher peaks - VK Ramaswamy
Talking from his home in Hyderabad, 73 year old VK Ramaswamy, who umpired in the first ‘Neutral Umpires’ test match way back in the mid 1980s, expressed happiness at handing over his long standing record to an outstanding umpire like Ravi  I am so happy for Ravi. He truly deserves this. He is such an outstanding umpire. I watched him when he began as a BCCI umpire. He was highly skilled and very good even at that time and I knew that he had it in him to reach the top.  I am confident that he will go even higher than where he is today.”

Former BCCI Umpire S Radhakrishnan(, who mentored Ravi at a crucial phase in the early part of his umpiring career and who had predicted seven years ago that Ravi would become the World’s best, is delighted at the transformational change in his mentee. 

It was under Radhakrishnan’s Tutelage that Ravi’s level of motivation in umpiring grew in the mid 1990s.  While he was a very good umpire, especially on the technical skills front, it was under Radhakrishnan’s guidance that Ravi developed the ambition to become a top umpire. The two of them umpired many matches in that phase and Ravi picked up intricate insights from Radhakrishnan. It was in that period that he became keener than ever to progress in his umpiring career.
A Transformational Change in Ravi
Radhakrishnan’s joy knew no bounds when Ravi was inducted recently into the Elite Panel for the fourth year in a row ‘From what I saw of him in those early years to what he is now is a transformational change. The poise and equanimity he exhibits on the field is phenomenal. His body language has transformed beyond my imagination.  Above all, the respect he seems to command from players is an indication of the growth in his stature as an umpire.’

Radhakrishnan remembers a match in the first division league in Chennai when Ravi banned a batsman, from SBI, for the rest of the match for disputing his decision. And there was a match when he refused a substitute for Rahul Dravid when he wanted to go off the field in a local league match “He used to react very strongly to situations. I told him that strong reactions was not acceptable for umpires and that open confrontations should be avoided. He had this instinctive quality to ‘react’. Usually the basic quality in a human being is very difficult to overcome but Ravi has mastered it and this quality to ‘react aggressively’ has gone away completely. That is a stupendous change for a human being.  It is this quality to transform that is taking him miles in his umpiring journey. He sharpened out the rough edges quite unbelievably much beyond my expectations. And that has made him a complete umpire,today.”
The Toughest Series
Ravi counts the controversial South Africa- Australia series earlier this year as one of the toughest he has officiated in, over the last 5 years “It was a very tough series because of the fact that lot of things happened both on and off the field. And it was a challenging experience to manage.” It was the transformational change that Radha cited that has helped Ravi manage such difficult situations with ease, amidst all the media glare.

His most memorable Tests
His roller coaster ride in recent years has included officiating tests at Lords and the MCG as well as the first Pink Ball Test. Looking back, he says that his first ever test at Lords in May 2015 and the first pink ball test in 2016 as being the most memorable moments in his umpiring career.

Radhakrishnan is quite surprised that Ravi could transform himself in such a short period of time ‘He doesn’t get ruffled at all.  Not just the external appearance, I could even feel inwardly that he was cool even in the toughest of situations. Ravi had strong values in life even as a youngster but the execution of those Values in Action is what matters the most on the cricket field. He has been able to do that. Ravi is a perfect role model for any umpire.”

Improvement Areas still!!!
Radhakrishnan, the mentor has a case for improvement for his mentee ‘Once in a while, when there is a beautiful swinging ball that beats a batsman, Ravi shows a mild 'facial expression' immediately after the ball passes the bat. He should work towards improving that. Knowing him, I am confident that he will master that one as well.”

Standing between him and the all time Indian record is Venkataraghavan, considered the best in his time. However, Ravi is not setting his eyes on that record just yet and says in his typical humble way I don't aim to beat Venkat's record, am just taking one match at a time and trying to give my best on the task at hand. I would like to continue as long as I can and lets see where I end up. 
Ravi's technical skills, body language, handling difficult situations, carrying himself on the field, the respect he commands from the top players and the ability to remain calm and unflustered makes him a very special umpire.

Umpiring Tests at Chepauk??
Unfortunately, back here in Madras, fans have not been able to watch him umpire tests at Chepauk for this ground has always been special for interenational cricketers from Tamil Nadu. While saddened by his inability to do tests at home, he is all for neutral umpires in tests “I feel it is better to have neutral umpires in tests.”

There is still a lot of Umpiring left in Ravi, despite the non stop overseas trips he has had to make over the last many years and the long periods of time he has had to be away from home. He began to umpire in the local league in Madras as a teenager way back in the 1980s in order to meet his monthly expenses. For someone who then waited 25 years for his international debut bearing through some frustrating periods in the middle, Ravi will not be short on patience. While he is not gunning for the record, it will be no surprise if one day he goes past Venkataraghavan. And at 52, Ravi has age on his side too.


Anonymous said...

Enjoyable article. Great to see Indian umpires from Tamil Nadu represented in the Elite Panel, and kudos to S Prabhu for bringing forth these stories

Anonymous said...

Very nice he deserves every bit of it

Unknown said...


Unknown said...

Super go headπŸ’πŸ’πŸ’

Anonymous said...

Nice one as ever ��