Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : February 15th 2015 Contents A55
February 15, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Sunday Guardian
SYDNEY---Fairy tales often don t come
true but try telling that to T&T interna-
tional cricket umpire Joel Wilson.
He will be the only West Indian match
official to stand in the ICC Cricket World
Cup which bowled off in Australia and
New Zealand yesterday.
The 48-year-old will stand in three
matches in the preliminary round as he
marks a personal milestone 20 years of
umpiring. Fairy tales don't get much bet-
ter.Wilson has described it as an absolute
honour to be chosen among the game's
elite to stand in the February 14 to March
29 tournament, undeniably cricket's great-
"I'm humbled and honoured at the same
time to be part of a team of officials that
could be considered the best crop in the
world at the moment. To be at this World
Cup means a lot to me and to west Indian
umpires in general," Wilson told CMC
"I'm looking forward to my assignments
in the tournament. This is, for me, some-
thing special and something I worked
towards. I've been umpiring for 20 years
and now after two decades I have been
given the opportunity to stand participate
in one of the biggest sporting events on
"I won't be worried too much about
what is happening around, my job is to
do my best in the middle and make the
correct and best decisions. I have umpired
to empty stadiums and I have umpired to
full stadiums, so I have told myself to take
it one step at a time, one ball at a time
and I know I will enjoy the World Cup."
Wilson's first assignment was on Sat-
urday's opening day in the big contest
between hosts Australia and England at
the MCG in Melbourne where he acted
as the fourth umpire.
His assignments in the middle will be
in Canberra when Afghanistan clash with
Bangladesh at Munaka Oval on February
18, in Brisbane when Zimbabwe face Pak-
istan at the Gabba on March 1, and in
Tasmania when Sri Lanka take on Scotland
on March 11.
Wilson will become the third West Indi-
an to stand in the Cricket World Cup --
the other two are legends of umpiring.
Jamaican Steve Bucknor proved to be one
of the best of all-time becoming the only
man to stand in four World Cup finals.
He ended an illustrious career at the
top of his game having completed a record
128 Test matches and 181 One-Day Inter-
nationals. Billy Doctrove of Dominica stood
in the 2007 and 2011 World Cups and
ended his career with 38 Test matches,
112 ODIs and 17 T20 Internationals.
Wilson is thrilled by the history he is
also making for his country Trinidad and
Tobago, and is determined to follow in
the footsteps of Bucknor and Doctrove.
"I am the first Trinidadian umpire at
the World Cup. We had Michael
Ragoonath, who stood in the FIFA Football
World Cup and is now a regional match
referee in cricket, so I guess from a
Trinidad perspective we have something
to be proud of with our sporting officials,"
"I watched a lot Bucknor and Doctrove
and they have offered me a lot of support.
Steve Bucknor is an icon in umpiring and
Billy Doctrove did extremely well in his
career at the elite level. He (Doctrove)
called me to wish me all the best before
I left home and that meant a lot to me
to get those words of encouragement from
a man who knows how it is done at this
Wilson acknowledged that at some
stages in his career he felt like quitting
but kind words of encouragement from
Clyde Cumberbatch, a former international
umpire, helped to strengthen his resolve.
"I remember the first day I stood in a
match 20 years ago. After that first day
I felt like giving up. I promised myself I
would not go back," he recounted.
"I was scheduled to be with a colleague
who did not show up and I had to stand
at both ends ... it was a school game and
it was very taxing. That first day was a
horror story, I didn't get a breather, I didn't
have another umpire to talk to, it was a
rough initiation, but it ended up being a
good eye-opener now that I look back 20
He continued: "Then we had classes at
the Queen's Park Oval and I was going to
announce during the classes that I was
finished with umpiring. Before the classes
started, Mr Cumberbatch met me and said
I saw you at the weekend and your umpir-
ing was really good' and that motivated
"I didn't announce my retirement' to
the group," he added with a laugh.
Wilson is the father of two daughters,
one a law student and the other a high
school student. He said that their support
along with that of his wife and extended
family, had been tremendous in his jour-
He also spoke of his close friendship
with Gregory Brathwaite, a fellow inter-
"I have to thank my wife and family for
all their support. My daughters are my
biggest fans ... I know this will sound
unusual to think about it but they watch
matches to cheer on the umpire," he said
with a smile.
"Gregory has been a friend for a while
now and we discuss cricket and umpiring.
There is so much happening in the field
of umpiring and we always try to keep up
to date with the latest happenings."
Only four years ago, Wilson was making
his international debut in a one-dayer
between West Indies and India in Jamaica's
Now, 18 ODIs and 16 Twenty20 Inter-
nationals later, Wilson is commanding
cricket's biggest stage and continues to
be driven by the desire to make a mean-
ingful contribution to the glorious game.
"I never thought 20 years ago when I
started that I would reach the World Cup
stage. All I really wanted to do was give
my best to the game of cricket," Wilson
"It is a wonderful game and a rich part
of West Indian history and who we are
as a people and all I really wanted to do
from the first day was just contribute in
a meaningful and professional way to the
"My ultimate ambition is to stand in a
Test match. I see Test cricket as the ulti-
mate form of the game and I dream of
making it all the way to that level." (CMC)
ICC CRICKET WORLD CUP
T&T's Wilson poised to
straddle biggest stage
Executive member of the T&T Cricket Board
(T&TCB) Manohar Ramsaran is backing the
T&TCB s decision to support former outstanding
West Indies fast bowler Joel Garner for the pres-
idency of the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB).
Ramsaran said yesterday that Garner's candidacy
was a perfect fit with T&T's Baldath Mahabir as
a running mate to tackle the current problems
besetting regional cricket.
In defending the decision to throw the weight
of the T&TCB behind Garner and Mahabir, one
of the two T&T delegates to the WICB, Ramsaran
said that it is inevitable that changes will be made
until the right combination of experience and
administrative skills can be arrived at. "We are
currently languishing at number eight in the Test
and One-Day International rankings and we must
do something to effect change.
We believe that we need to restore some lead-
ership to the WICB that will take us to the top
of the international ladder once again," said Ram-
saran. He said that that the combination of Garner,
a Barbadian, and Mahabir will comprise an
"aggressive alliance" which would have the tools
to arrest the slide of regional cricket currently
reeling under a US $42 million claim by the Board
of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) for the
aborted West Indies tour of India last year.
"We all know what kind of tough and no-non-
sense person Garner is, while Mahabir is a suc-
cessful businessman who has been the driving
force behind the marketing of T&T cricket.
He has also been a director on the WICB for
many years and is well aware of what needs to
be done to change around the fortunes of regional
cricket," said Ramsaran.
He said the change in leadership will be timely
with the expected election of Garner and Mahabir
as there seems to be no end in sight in the pre-
vailing circumstances in which the WICB could
be made bankrupt if called upon to compensate
the BCCI for the players' action.
"We are not calling change for change sake but
in the interest of WI cricket, the only unifying
force that we have in the Caribbean in a sport
that means so much to everyone," said Ramsaran.
A former Minister of Sport, Ramsaran said that
under Garner and Mahabir, he envisions a healthy
and productive working relationship with both
the players and members of Caricom, who have
also voiced their concern about the latest devel-
opments in WI cricket.
"We would hope that the new leadership in the
WICB would improve the lines of communication
between the players, not necessarily their union,
and with Caricom heads who are all important
stake-holders in the sport.
"It will be refreshing to meet regularly with
these parties to resolve issues and plan the way
forward instead of only coming together in times
of crisis. We believe that the team we support
will bring about change in the best interest of
everyone," said Ramsaran.
Garner perfect fit
for WI cricket
Pakistan star Shahid Afridi played down
being fined for breaking a team curfew at
the World Cup on Sunday, claiming he
and teammates went out to eat and not
to dance the night away.
Afridi, Ahmed Shehzad and six other
players were fined $300 each for returning
to their Sydney hotel 45 minutes late in an
incident which cast a cloud over their
preparations for today's big clash against
bitter rivals India at the Adelaide Oval.
"There are restaurants that have clubs
inside them---nothing happened, we went
for food then came back," Afridi told BBC
"When you have no news to show, they
spread these kind of rumours to get atten-
tion from people. Nothing happened that
night. We went for dinner---we are in Aus-
tralia, not in (Pakistani cities) Thatta or
Afridi plays down curfew breach
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