Sharfuddoula Ibne Shahid Saikat: It’s a huge achievement for me to become the first Bangladeshi to officiate in the World Cup
Sharfuddoula Ibne Shahid Saikat will soon make history by officiating in the World Cup as the first umpire from Bangladesh, the ICC selected Saikat to the 16-man umpiring panel for the quadrennial competition, which will take place in India from October 5 to November 19, 2023; Saikat is a member of the ICC Emerging panel.
Sharfuddoula Ibne Shahid Saikat will soon make history by officiating in the World Cup as the first umpire from Bangladesh.
In actuality, it’s a really huge deal. The ICC selected Saikat to the 16-man umpiring panel for the quadrennial competition, which will take place in India from October 5 to November 19, 2023. Saikat is a member of the ICC Emerging panel.
Saikat, who is considered one of the best Bangladeshi umpires, has officiated in 13 Tests, 85 ODIs, and 59 T20Is. He is eager to participate in the World Cup to add a new honor to his illustrious career. The man, though, feels that officiating in a Test match is the highest honor he could have dreamed of.
“It’s obviously a dream to officiate in the forthcoming ICC World Cup. It’s an honor and a privilege, and a huge achievement for me to become the first Bangladeshi to officiate in the World Cup,”Saikat told Cricbuzz.
“It’s been the result of a process, and I have earned it through dedication and hard work.”
“However, I think getting appointed to officiate in a Test match was much bigger for me. I was very excited about it because it’s the pinnacle of the sport, and every umpire’s dream to be in charge of a Test match.”
“There was a time when I had my doubts whether I’d be considered for a Test match because I’d already been an international umpire for 10 to 12 years before I got the chance,”recalled Saikat.
“I must have proved that I am capable of handling the pressure of a Test match. And after the Test, I had a feeling that better things would come my way because my confidence grew higher following that Test against West Indies.
“I have officiated as on-field umpire in nine Test matches and I am happy and honored that my performance in the Test matches got rewarded with a chance to officiate in the World Cup.”
Saikat has officiated in some ICC events, including the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup, ICC Women’s World Cup, and Under-19 World Cup. He is appreciative of the experience because it has helped him advance in his career.
“I think I am aware of the environment that prevails in an ICC event, considering I have some experience but at the same time the intensity will be much higher than what I have experienced so far and I am looking forward to that challenge. There will be different teams and so I have to prepare by studying about them,”said Saikat, emphasizing the role of preparation even to officiate in elite sport – a factor that often slips under the radar.
“Preparation plays a huge part. I feel that people have a wrong perception about umpires like we are only there to raise and lower our fingers, and we even have the assistance of DRS.
“There is more to it: you have to leave behind all kinds of emotions before the start of the play and carry on with your job irrespective of what is going through your mind. There is a saying that “cricket creates character and umpiring creates life” because as an umpire you will experience everything.
“Everybody is bound to make mistakes, but you have to bounce back from them, and that is the biggest challenge because you made an error in the field and all the TV cameras will show that you’ve made a mistake which can be humiliating. You have to bounce back and deal with public scrutiny. Life cannot be harder than this. People are always against umpires and you have to keep that in mind.”
Saikat further elaborated on how the umpires practice before every event to keep their senses alert.
“We have an ICC drive with videos of incidents, and I still make mistakes despite watching them. At times I go to the nets to see what the bowlers are doing. In the World Cup, there will be matches after one day or two, and so I have to take that preparation from now on regarding different countries to make sure I am fully prepared for the big event.”
“Like cricketers, umpires can also have a bad day, but the most challenging part is that you have to recover very quickly. For instance, if a batsman makes a mistake he gets out and goes back to the dressing room. If a bowler is doing badly, the captain will change him to give him time to recover. However, for an umpire that is not the case.
“In my first Test I had made a mistake by giving Shadman LBW, and I thought to myself, there are still five days of cricket left. Looking too far ahead would make me anxious, but now I have realized that you just concentrate on your next ball rather than thinking too far ahead, because if you grumble about it, chances are high that you will make more mistakes as the day progresses.”
Saikat believes that his selection to officiate at the World Cup will encourage many Bangladeshi umpires to pursue higher goals.
“I think my officiating at the World Cup will be inspiring for other umpires (from Bangladesh) because when they have the belief that it is possible to reach this far, they will be motivated to do better.”
In the ICC World Cup 2023, there will be 16 umpires, including 12 from the Emirates Elite Panel of ICC Umpires and 4 members of the ICC Emerging Umpires’ Panel.
Umpires: Chris Brown, Kumar Dharmasena, Marais Erasmus, Chris Gaffaney, Michael Gough, Adrian Holdstock, Richard Illingworth, Richard Kettleborough, Nitin Menon, Ahsan Raza, Paul Reiffel, Sharfuddoula Ibne Shahid Saikat, Rod Tucker, Alex Wharf, Joel Wilson and Paul Wilson.