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Pulling on the white coat

Posted in Domestic Cricket

Retiring happens to every cricketer and I knew I would be no different. You have to be prepared for when that day comes and fortunately for me, I did think ahead.

As a player you know that you are going to finish one day and that you are going to have 25 or 30 years left. You have to be prepared for that.

I picked up an injury halfway through last season and it forced me to retire from my playing career. I had wanted to play for another year or two and felt that I was bowling well enough to continue playing.

I will miss the feeling of charging in, getting everything right, nipping the ball away and taking key wickets. I will miss the buzz of seeing the stumps fly out of the ground.

Despite all that, I know I have made the right decision.

Once I knew my playing days were over my mind was set on becoming an umpire. I did a degree in Architecture, but that was not something I wanted to pursue after playing.

I knew I wanted to stay in cricket. I didn’t think that coaching was for me so I thought about umpiring. What better place to be than out in the middle?

I remember speaking to Jeremy Lloyds about umpiring. I asked him what it was like and it sounded appealing, if you excuse the pun.

I used to get on well with umpires. Despite being a fast bowler I wasn’t aggressive when I was out in the middle. I used to enjoy the whole day, even when I wasn’t bowling, and that would include talking to the umpires.

I took my ACU&S GL6 umpiring exam in 2004 and then three years ago did my ECB OA Level 2. Other players from around my time went through similar courses. David Millns was one – he’s on the full-time list now – and Steve O’Shaughnessy was another. He is on the reserve list with me.

I knew the transition from player to umpire wouldn’t be easy but I had all winter to get my mind around it and I was looking forward to the start of the season and the new challenge ahead. I didn’t have many expectations and wanted to take it one step at a time.

Martin Saggers & Javed Omar

I loved my time as a player but I knew it would not last forever and thought about becoming an umpire years ago

I think being an ex-player does help, especially with the pace of the game. You are dealing with cricketers that you have played with and against and being an ex-player of 15 years, I hope I have their respect.

It’s a busy schedule when you are an umpire. I stood at Cambridge University v Loughborough MCCU which ended on Thursday. It was a great game where Loughborough chased down 401 off the final ball with one wicket remaining. It was intense at times which was understandable with it being such a close game.

I am off to Blackpool next week. I start with a Second XI Trophy game on Tuesday between Lancashire and Warwickshire, then the next day the two teams play a three-day game which I will stand in.

Blackpool will be happier place to be if their football team win their play-off against Cardiff on Saturday and make the Premier League. However, I think I will be too busy to join in with the open top bus parade.

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