NZ exchange umpires' program

Andrew Groves spoke to CV Umpiring Manager Bob Parry about the New Zealand Exchange Program.

Cricket Victoria’s Umpire Exchange Program with New Zealand continues to go from strength to strength.

For over 20 years budding white coats have been making the trip back and forth to the respective countries to hone their skills in a different cricketing environment.

Christchurch Cricket Association umpire David Reid and Jayath Batuwangala from Auckland are currently in Melbourne as part of the exchange.

Victoria’s Dean Jones made the trip to Christchurch before Christmas. Malcolm Gunn is getting ready to umpire in Auckland in April.reid_and_bomford_r18

Cricket Victoria Umpiring Manager Bob Parry hopes the relationship will continue long into the future.

“The umpires really look forward to the challenge,” he said.

“When the appointments are made the guys really celebrate it. The exchange stretches back nearly 20 years, in fact the first exchange umpire to come over was none other than Billy Bowden.

“We identify umpires we think will benefit from the trip to New Zealand. It’s a really good test for them, it’s a different standard with different conditions.

“You are also away from your support network and umpiring players you don’t know, from different backgrounds.

“It gives a window to what lies ahead if they continue to progress as an umpire.”

Bob is certainly an advocate for the program after experiencing first hand the difference between the two countries, but said the challenging new environment can only improve their skills in the future.

“It’s amazing just looking at how they prepare their pitches in New Zealand,” he said.

“There’s different soil there, different tinges to the wickets. But once you start playing on them you realise they are very good pitches.

“If by any chance our umpires do make that step up and travel to New Zealand in the future then it takes away that mystery before a ball is bowled.

“Two of the three umpires who have come over from Auckland recently have made their debuts in first class cricket this season in New Zealand. We’d like to think the experience of coming over and umpiring in Premier Cricket has helped them.”

At first class level, a Cricket Australia initiative, has seen umpires from national panels in New Zealand, India and South Africa travel to Australia to stand in state games.

“Cricket Australia has been running that program for about 5-10 years now, so I suppose we’ve been one step ahead of the game in that sense at club level,” he added.

Parry is hopeful the Premier exchange can be expanded further afield in the future.

"We'll have to see. The New Zealand program has been a great success. When I returned there recently, I went back to the ground I umpired on as part of the exchange.

“There are some great memories that come flooding back to you.”

Meanwhile, Parry is hopeful Vic Spirit player Kristen Beams will be able to officiate in more Premier games next season.

The leg spinner was due to try her hand at a few fixtures at the back end of this campaign but her busy schedule wouldn’t allow it.

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