Joining the elite
Posted in ECB ACO
I was delighted to be asked if I wanted to be added to the elite panel of ICC umpires. I said yes straightway. I'm really excited about getting started.
When I started umpiring I wanted to go as high as I could so to reach this level is brilliant news. It's come a bit quicker than I thought it might.
At 38, I'm the youngest on the panel but that doesn't bother me. I'm used to it. I was the youngest on the ECB Reserve List, youngest on the First-Class List and youngest on the ICC International Panel.
I will be on a two-year contract which is then reviewed. Hopefully I will do well and I can remain on the elite list for many years.
I knew the ICC committee were meeting but I wasn't sure if they were planning on promoting anyone. I got a call after the meeting finished to say they wanted to appoint me and Kumar Dharmasena.
I played against Kumar years ago when Middlesex played Sri Lanka and we stood together in the Under-19 World Cup Final.
My appointment is performance related. I umpired at the World Cup earlier this year and last November did two Test matches between Sri Lanka and West Indies. It went well from my point of view.
My first Test was in Galle. The heat and the humidity hit me straight away, there was indifferent bounce, men around the bat, lots of appealing - they knew it was my first game and wanted to test me.
There were 13 referrals and on each occasion my decision was upheld. That was pleasing. I like the DRS but it means you have nowhere to hide as an umpire. I like testing myself though.
I can't wait to do more Tests and be out there with world class players, day in, day out. It'll be a challenge though. There is lots of time away from home, different cultures, different climates, umpiring with different colleagues and the use of technology.
I have a young family so being abroad is a massive commitment. I haven't got the contract yet but I think I am due to do 80 days, either on field or as a TV umpire.
I will be spending a lot of time away from home so it was something my wife and I discussed. We have two young kids - Millie is two and a half, Jack is five months - but we think we can manage.
The ICC normally give you three months' notice of where you will be sent to umpire. I will be staying in England for the summer though as I am involved with the England-Sri Lanka one-dayers and the England-India series.