PRESS RELEASE – As the six WICB Professional Cricket League franchises were busy going through their final week of preparations, so too were the men and woman that will join them on the field this coming season.
Members of the WICB Senior Panel of Umpires, including recent Test cap Joel Wilson and Jacqueline Williams, who will create history when she becomes the first female to umpire a Regional 4-Day game next month, took part in a workshop this week.
The group spent three days at the Accra Hotel with international umpires’ instructor David Levens in final preparation for the season, going over the laws of the game, brushing up on match management techniques and undergoing medical testing.
“The workshop programme was designed to help build on the achievements of the previous workshop,” said Rawl Lewis, the WICB cricket operations project officer with responsibility for match officials.
“We wanted to create a supportive and professional learning environment which models good practice and enables umpires to lead, contribute, participate and learn from each other in their pursuit of excellence.
“The intention was also to create an environment that is inclusive of all, including umpires on the emerging panel, and to provide a professional and enjoyable experience for all participants, as we aim to improve this vital area in the development of the game.”
Lewis was satisfied that many of the objectives of the sessions were accomplished and encouraged the officiating crews to give of their very best this season.
“The sessions went very well,” he said. “Officiating in any sport, much less this game is not an easy task, but we believe that we have equipped our match officials with the tools that would help them to be more effective on the field of play.
“Our franchises were busy preparing in the off-season and so were our officials, and this was a great opportunity for them to not only gain wider knowledge, but also to bond with each other, and build the same type of camaraderie and togetherness that players require to be successful on the field.”
Lewis said he was looking forward to receiving good reports about the standard of umpiring during the season, but was especially excited about the debut of Williams.
“She has worked very hard over the last few months and the exposure she gained from working beside our international umpires Joel, Gregory Brathwaite, Peter Nero and Nigel Duguid has been very positive,” he said.
“We want to develop more female umpires in the West Indies because we know there are females out there that are very much interested in the game and can be educated in this important role.”
In the first round of matches in the R4Day, Nandkumar Shivsankar and Wilson will be in the middle, when Guyana Jaguars, the reigning champions, host Windward Islands Volcanoes at the Guyana National Stadium.
Carl Tuckett, a former Leeward Islands and West Indies all-rounder, will make his R4Day debut on “home soil” standing with Brathwaite when the Hurricanes host Trinidad & Tobago Red Force at Warner Park in St. Kitts.
Jonathan Blades will also make his R4Day debut, when Nero joins him for the match between Barbados Pride and Jamaica Scorpions at Kensington Oval in Barbados.