Even though new cricket laws will be implemented from October 1, 2017, the Barbados Cricket Umpires Association (BCUA) does not believe this would dissuade persons from joining the association.
In fact, vice president Patrick Grazettes, re-elected unopposed for a fifth term when elections were held this past Monday night at the Barbados Cricket Association, said they have seen a growing interest in persons wanting to get into umpiring.
The election that is constitutionally due every two years saw Gregory Brathwaite being reinstated at the helm of the BCUA for a third term after being challenged by former president Vincent Bullen. Hensley Robinson commanded the majority vote of 45-28 against Jonathan Blades for the position of secretary.
Blades also threw in his hat for the post of assistant secretary and failed in that bid as well against Ricardo Harrison. Andrew Corbin is unopposed as treasurer while the floor members are former BCUA president Bullen, Blades, Lloyd Benn and Derryck Davis.
“Things are changing rapidly. The cricket laws are changing from October 1 at the West Indies Cricket Umpires level. The chairman of training is now Peter Nero, so the whole training structure is going to change in my opinion for the better. We got new things coming in and hopefully, it would lead to better umpiring and stronger and more confident umpires from the region,” said Grazettes, who was elected secretary of the training committee of the West Indies Cricket Umpires Association.
Since Trinidadian-born Nero took up the chairmanship, Leslie Reifer Jr. has taken over officiating a number of ICC games with the last one being the T20 match won by West Indies against India at Sabina Park.
According to Grazettes, the Leslie Reifer phenomenon of becoming the youngest ever international umpire has inspired persons under the age of 25 to join the BCUA. He said normally they got about six or ten persons joining over the past three to four years but now the numbers have increased to twenty or more per year.
“What we found over the last three to four years has been a younger membership. We are now having guys who are literally still in school joining the association and studying the laws and wanting to become umpires. I put this down to the Leslie Reifer Jr. phenomenon where he became a young umpire and has gone onto International Cricket Council status and a lot of guys join under twenty-five years old and when you ask them why they are joining that is the reason,” said Grazettes, who is also the training officer for umpires in Barbados.