Sunday, 4 March 2018

Square leg Player Umpires

It was suggested at a recent umpires' meeting that square leg player umpires be required to wear "closed shoes" rather than "thongs".

I asked what reason might be cited for this. I was suggested "health and safety". This was not a lengthy conversation but my reaction is against what hazard?

I am unconvinced of the need for this on safety grounds.
The worst hazards that could possibly be encountered on a cricket field are discarded sharp objects, broken glass, prickly weeds. Most people would say thongs are probably enough to deal with these hazards.

I don't think there would be heavy falling objects, hot or otherwise unsafe liquid chemicals, biting insects or dangerous animals (dogs or snakes) or non-visible, unstable or slippery surfaces (which might be unsafe to walk on with bare feet). Those things might make closed shoes a necessity (in a kitchen or a factory or a densely foliated jungle perhaps.)

I suspect the real reason is more likely something to do with image. A couple of years ago regulation 8.4.1 was rewritten to include terms like 'reasonably clothed' for player umpires. The intention of this was to make player umpires appearance more formal and less casual.
The traditional image of cricket (whites, on a green field with a red ball) is something many people continue to aspire toward.
Player umpires wearing closed shoes is in line with that aspiration.

This requires careful definition. Sandals and slip-ons (e.g. 'crocs') might become a grey area. So I think adding a good glossary definition will help.

The hardest part of this idea is actually the implementation. Square leg umpires come and go as they please even in A1 matches. The umpire is usually too busy or disinclined to check this comprehensively. Captains and players are often uninformed or not interested in checking as well. They are more concerned with getting anyone to volunteer, let alone get dressed as well.

The best way to run this is to motivate players, teams and captains so they themselves want to do it.

This problem is actually the same as the team shirts compliance issue. So go see the discussion at another post.


Current Regulation (Sat and Sunday 50) to be altered.
Super 20 will require a new regulation to be added (numbering to be updated).

8.4.1 Player umpires will be reasonably clothed including a shirt and footwear when standing during matches. 8.4.1 Player umpires will be reasonably clothed including a shirt and closed footwear when standing during matches.
(A GLOSSARY definition will be added.) "closed footwear " ... shoes which have only one opening - the hole where you insert your foot. This excludes thongs, sandals, scuffs.

 ABM 4-Mar-2018

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