Nation e-Edition

Umpire seeks big stage

LOOKING AHEAD: Bangladeshi umpire Masudur Rahman Mukul making a signal during the WICB 4-Day match between Barbados and Windward Islands at Kensington Oval last Sunday. (Picture by Kenmore Bynoe.)

By WAYNE HOLDER | Wed, March 27, 2013 - 12:00 AM

Most young boys growing up in Bangladesh in the last quarter of the 20th century dreamed of one day going on to represent their country on the international cricket stage.

Masudur Rahman Mukul was no different and set out in pursuit of fulfilling that goal while still a young teenager.

His abilities got him as far as the national Under-19 and “A” teams.

When the country of 150 million was finally granted Test status in 2001 – 30 years after its birth – Masudur was among the original group of players in the new national first-class tournament.

His desire to make it on the big stage as a player was not to be realized but he still holds out realistic hopes of achieving that boyhood fantasy in a different capacity.

Dhaka-born Mukul flies out of Barbados today after standing with Guyanese Nigel Duguid as umpires in the Regional 4-Day Championship match between Barbados and the Windward Islands at Kensington Oval.

The 39-year-old father of two girls is the fourth Bangladeshi umpire to officiate in the West Indies domestic competitions as part of a three-year-old bilateral umpires exchange programme with the West Indies Cricket Board.

Masudur was high in his praise for the programme when he spoke to MIDWEEKSPORT.

“The exchange programme is a good thing because obviously it exposes one to a different culture, different environment and different players,” he said.

“This (exposure) can only help me in (achieving) my goal to be a top-class umpire. Hopefully, it will bring out the best in me as I continue to learn and grow.”

The former all-rounder, who totalled 301 runs with a highest score of 59 in 12 first-class appearances, took up umpiring six years ago and has also stood in matches in Sri Lanka where he visited last year as part of a similar exchange.

The “high standard” of play exhibited in the Barbados/Windwards match took him pleasantly by surprise.

“Oh it is too much,” he said. “I never expected anything like this at domestic level. Except for the (lack of a) television umpire it is like umpiring in international (or) Test matches.

“Although you here have an outstanding cricket background, I never thought it would be of such (high) standard.”

Although up to this point Masudur has been mainly confined to the Oval and his hotel, Barbados has made a favourable impression.

“I’m enjoying the weather and the way all the people love cricket. The beautiful city, the beaches, everything is lovely here and everyone is so friendly,” he said.

A staunch supporter of the introduction of technology to assist umpires in their decision-making, Mukul is slated to officiate in matches during the final two rounds of both the 4-Day and Super50 championships and the Barbados team will be seeing quite a lot of him during the remainder of the campaign.

He and Trinidadian Joel Wilson are fixtured to stand in both legs of this week’s clashes with home team Leewards at Warner Park, while he teams up with Guyanese Zahid Bassarath during Barbados’ last round encounters with Trinidad and Tobago at Queen’s Park Oval.

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