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Umpire spreads wings

Umpire spreads wings BANGLADESH-BOUND: Leslie Reifer Jr left last weekend to umpire cricket in Bangladesh. (FP)

By Randy Bennett | Fri, May 02, 2014 - 12:03 AM

LESLIE REIFER Jr has made another huge step in his quest to become an elite international cricket umpire.

The 24-year-old Barbadian left the island last week for Bangladesh, where he will spend the next two weeks as part of an exchange programme between the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) and the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB).

It will be Reifer’s second such trip, following a one-month stint in England last year.

In an interview with NATIONSPORT just before departing the Grantley Adams International Airport last Saturday, Reifer expressed his excitement about being selected to umpire in the subcontinent.

“It is indeed an honour to have been chosen by the WICB and I am very proud. I can truly say that I have become a much better umpire as a result of these opportunities,” he said.

What will make this particular tour that much more special is the fact Reifer will get the opportunity to officiate in the Bangladesh Cricket League’s final. In doing so, he would become the first West Indian umpire to be appointed to a final in Bangladesh.

Reifer, the cousin of former West Indies captain Floyd  Reifer, said he expected the experience to be completely different from the tour of England, where he had to deal with extremely cold conditions.

“I expect a different and unique challenge because I am going to a foreign country where not much English is spoken.

“Also, the conditions will be completely different. I expect very hot and humid conditions and the pitches to be especially friendly to the spinners,” he added. “But once I found out I was going to be making the trip, I’ve been working tirelessly to get myself in good physical and mental condition.”

It is just the latest achievement for Reifer, who also holds the distinction of being the youngest ever umpire from the Caribbean to officiate in a first-class match.

And having also stood in both the NAGICO Super50 and the Regional 4-Day Championship, an upbeat Reifer sees this as a perfect opportunity in which to garner the experience he needs to become a world-class umpire.

“It is really an amazing opportunity and I intend to make the best of it,” he said.

randybennett@nationnews.com

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