featured, SPORTS — July 5, 2012 at 5:10 pm

The Case for Female Umpires



I am all for gender equality. I think there should be female fishermen going out in boats to catch us some shell fish. They might be surprised to find out that lobsters turn all cuddly and red only after they are boiled. For cricket, I think we are progressively moving towards an era where the female umpire is going to emerge at some point.

There are many signs. One is the experimentation with pink balls in domestic cricket. They say that pink balls would be better suited for play under lights. This will create problems. I just would not be able to withstand the sight of Aleem Dar tossing a pink ball to Umar Gul to get things started. I would lose my passion for the game instantly. If it were a female umpire, at least the pink would be assimilated into the umpire’s flowery aura. Of course it would also work if Aleem Dar were tossing the ball to a 120kmph Praveen Kumar (the infamous descendant of the Venkatesh Prasad line of ‘something bowlers’). I once heard a commentator say ‘good slower one by prasad’ six times in an over before he realized his indiscretion.

The introduction of female umpires might bring some interesting changes to cricket. Firstly, we would have more friendly appeals. A more “What do you think of that? Not good enough? Well can we discuss this over coffee?” approach rather than the “Howzzzattttt if-you-say-no-i-will-wrap-my-smelly-sweater-around-your-waist” type of appeals we usually get.

The leg umpire would certainly have a better presence on the field. Leg umpires have historically been the second most unnoticed element of the cricket field right behind Waqar Younis’s missing finger. If batsmen were to see a four fingered hand running towards them at great pace they would forget about the ball. Fortunately Waqar was so sublime he didn’t even need this secret weapon. But yes, the leg umpire would gain prominence were it to be a female. This is because they would have vastly better evasive maneuvers when a batsman hits the ball to square leg. Females, being more flexible and avid dancers, would make the most of the situation. Maybe it would be enough to finally get rid of those needless abominations they call cheerleaders in T20 matches.

Finally, the umpire decision review system (UDRS) may start to spice things up in the game rather than slow it down. If any player makes the dreaded mistake of reviewing a female umpire’s decision he would be sure to face unprecedented wrath in the form of a woman’s scorn. ’So you are going to review my decision eh?’- next over she will remember to forget that a ball pitching outside leg does not qualify for an LBW. Well in that sense, she wouldn’t be much different that Umar Gul.

  • Sara


  • Sufiyan

    only if they wear burka or hijab

  • Javelin

    In principle there is nothing wrong with women umpiring male cricket matches (and vice versa)

    However, were do you draw the line ? Already, in some junior schools, girls are demanding to be allowed to play in boys football teams, boys cricket teams, etc.

    If one day an outstanding female cricket player (for example, a batswoman, or spinner) who has outshone in female cricket teams, demands to be allowed to play in male cricket teams, whether in 1st class or county or national level, what do you do?

    The Law may say that by excluding her, it is sex-discrimination, and thus must be allowed.(females already participate in previously men only events such as jockeys, racing drivers, snooker, showjumping,…….thus, from the point of view that sport should be excluded from sex-discrimination laws, meaningless)

    But then, by the same token, a man may then demand to be allowed to play in female teams.

    Making the whole concept of men only, female only sports obsolete.

  • watsupdoc

    If women start umpiring teams (especially Pakistan and India) will only look at the umpire…

  • Robert

    No good reason why there should not be women umps.