EARLY arrivals at a local cricket ground will see players out having a warm up in preparation for their match but what about the match officials?

What is their role upon arriving at the ground? There are certain things that have to be checked. Umpires should walk round the boundary, checking it is clearly marked with a white line, flags or boundary rope or a clear drop off. Umpires should be able to see the boundary rope and flags from the middle of the pitch.

By walking the boundary hazards immediately outside it can be identified, such as seating close to the boundary edge, concrete walls, fences, curbing, roll-on covers as players are to be made aware of these. Overhanging branches need to be identified as if the ball hits these branches then six runs are scored, even if the ball drops down inside the boundary.

Meeting with the scorers is essential. Watches are to be synchronised and umpires need to establish where the scorers are sitting. In the days of electronic scoring, scorers do not always sit in the scorebox as the scoreboard can be operated from elsewhere. Many an umpire has been caught out signalling to the wrong place. Also, umpires need to ask, what the scorers will be acknowledging their signals with for example, light on box, hand, white object or a coloured paddle. Sometimes it is very hard to see the umpire’s signal when they are sat behind a window so an early chat with them would help you know what to look for.

The umpires should check the pitch to see the markings are correct and the stumps correctly aligned. Then there is the receipt of each team’s players on the teamsheet, checking that under-19 players are identified, All this happens before the toss is made.

At the toss umpires have a chance to highlight any different playing conditions and if the weather looks like it could rain. They will remind captains the game is to be played within the spirit of the game as it is their responsibility for the behaviour of their players .

It’s not just a case of turning up and immediately taking the field.