One of the most important roles played by an individual in a cricket match is that of a Cricket Umpire! But how does one become a cricket umpire?
To become a Cricket Umpire in India, first, you need to register with your respective State Cricket Associations by giving a written and a verbal examination. You then need to officiate in local cricket matches, and gradually pass the BCCI Level 1 & Level 2 examinations to get empanelled with BCCI as an Umpire.
But, what skills does one need? Do you have to be a former cricket player to be a cricket umpire? In today’s post, we answer all these questions, and understand the details of how you can have a career as a cricket umpire! So, without further delay, let’s just dive right into the details –
[IMPORTANT – This information has been put together based on responses from individuals currently working as cricket umpires under BCCI. It has also been separately validated by another cricket umpire for authenticity purposes.]
Qualification & Skills Needed to Become a Cricket Umpire in India
The role of an umpire often goes unnoticed. Therefore, when one starts thinking about being an umpire, it is easy to forget that it is quite a skillful and physically demanding job!
There are several things that are considered for an individual to qualify as a cricket umpire. These are as follows –
Qualifications Needed to Become an Umpire –
1. Education Requirement –
There are no minimum education requirements for becoming an umpire in India. However, one must be able to read and write as he has to learn all the important rules involved in Cricket. Furthermore, if one does become an umpire at the international level (which would be the end objective for choosing this as a career), he/she should be able to communicate in English.
2. Qualify in the Theory Exams –
In order to be able to adjudge a cricket match as an umpire, you need to have sound knowledge of the game of cricket. This means having a good grip on the 42 Laws of Cricket.
Additionally, in order to qualify as an umpire, one of the requirements is to pass the theory exams conducted by the specific state sports bodies such as the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) or the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA).
Only after qualifying in the theory exams can you become eligible for participating in exams conducted by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). The BCCI exams for an umpire are critical steps to get recognized and inducted as an umpire.
3. Good Physical Fitness
Unlike a cricket player, who gets to rest when his team is batting, an umpire has to be on the field regardless of which side is batting or bowling! Hence, an umpire has to be physically really fit.
The fitness is not just limited to the capability to stand long hours on the field. It also extends to having good eyesight and hearing capabilities.
Good hearing capability and sound eyesight are extremely important as they play a crucial role in deciding whether a batsman should be given out or not. Additionally, the capability to concentrate for long hours is another aspect that an umpire needs to have.
Skills Needed to Become an Umpire
In addition to the basic qualifications that are mentioned above, there are a few skills that a cricket umpire should be good at. These are mentioned below –
1. Good Decision Making Skills
This is one of the most important skills that one needs to be possess in order to become a good cricket umpire. The ability to make the right decision under pressure is absolutely key for an umpire’s success. Additionally, incorrect decisions can impact not just the career of the umpire but also the course of the match.
It is important to note that it is not only necessary to make the correct decision, but also to make it in a very short span of time! An umpire only has a few seconds to decide whether a batsman should be given out or not. An umpire does not have the liberty to take a few hours or watch multiple replays to make a decision.
2. Multitasking Skills
The role of an umpire is often considered limited to just deciding the no ball, wide ball or deciding whether a batsman should be given out. This is, however, an incomplete understanding. An umpire is usually expected to carry out many more activities.
Thus, an umpire is also expected to be great at multi-tasking!
Did you know that an umpire has to keep track of every single ball bowled and wickets lost using a clicker! This along with a bowler overstepping, or running on a pitch. Not to mention any personal conflicts on the field, the change in the shape of the ball, the amount of light (whether it is sufficient enough for safe play), any fielder tampering with the ball etc.! The list is huge!
The above mentioned activities are just a few that happen on the ground. The umpire also has other responsibilities after the end of the match such as filing the match report etc.
These activities require a great deal of multi-tasking on behalf of the umpire.
3. People Skills (Managing People)
Another important skill that an umpire needs to have is the people management skills.
One of the core roles of an umpire during a cricket match is that of being an authority and officiating a match. Since cricket is a team game, it involves managing several players. Sometimes, issues may arise between the team members or between the players of the opposing team. (or due to several other factors)
It is the role of the cricket umpire to manage such situations and ensure that the spirit of the game is followed and maintained.
An umpire possessing good people management skills will be able to navigate through such situations quite easily.
Process of Becoming a Cricket Umpire in India
In order to become a cricket umpire in India, one needs to go through a lot of preparation and studying, and also often watching a lot of cricket matches in order to become thoroughly acquainted with the game.
Step 1 – Seek Information from Your State Cricket Association
The process of becoming an umpire really begins with the state cricket associations of your state. A state cricket association is the governing cricket body for each specific state. You can consider this as a mini-BCCI which is responsible for a specific state.
There are several state cricket associations in India. The table below lists pretty much all the state associations. Some states have multiple state associations. Be sure to check all of them for relevance.
|S.No||Cricket Association Name||State||City||Zone||Website|
|1||Andhra Cricket Association||Andhra Pradesh||Visakhapatnam||South||www.andhracricketassociation.com|
|2||Arunachal Cricket Association||Arunachal Pradesh||Itanagar||East||www.arunachalcricket.in|
|3||Assam Cricket Association||Assam||Guwahati||East||www.assamcricket.com|
|4||Bihar Cricket Association||Bihar||Patna||East||www.biharcricketassociation.in|
|5||Union Territory Cricket Association||Chandigarh||Chandigarh||North||NA|
|6||Chhattisgarh State Cricket Sangh||Chhattisgarh||Naya Raipur||Central||www.cricketcscs.tv|
|7||Delhi & District Cricket Association||Delhi||Delhi||North||www.ddca.in|
|8||Goa Cricket Association||Goa||Goa||South||www.goacricketassociation.co.in|
|9||Baroda Cricket Association||Gujarat||Vadodara||West||www.barodacricketassociation.com|
|10||Gujarat Cricket Association||Gujarat||Ahmedabad||West||www.gujaratcricketassociation.com|
|11||Saurashtra Cricket Association||Gujarat||Rajkot||West||www.saucricket.com|
|12||Haryana Cricket Association||Haryana||Bhiwani||North||www.haryanacricket.org|
|13||Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association||Himachal Pradesh||Dharamshala||North||www.hpcricket.org|
|14||Jammu and Kashmir Cricket Association||Jammu and Kashmir||Srinagar||North||NA|
|15||Jharkhand State Cricket Association||Jharkhand||Ranchi||East||www.cricjharkhand.org|
|16||Karnataka State Cricket Association||Karnataka||Bengaluru||South||www.ksca.cricket|
|17||Kerala Cricket Association||Kerala||Thiruvananthapuram||South||www.keralacricketassociation.com|
|18||Madhya Pradesh Cricket Association||Madhya Pradesh||Indore||Central||www.mpcaonline.com|
|19||Vidarbha Cricket Association||Maharashtra||Nagpur||Central||www.vca.co.in|
|20||Maharashtra Cricket Association||Maharashtra||Pune||West||www.cricketmaharashtra.com|
|21||Mumbai Cricket Association||Maharashtra||Mumbai||West||www.mumbaicricket.com|
|22||Manipur Cricket Association||Manipur||Manipur||East||www.manipurcricket.com|
|23||Meghalaya Cricket Association||Meghalaya||Meghalaya||East||NA|
|24||Cricket Association of Mizoram||Mizoram||Aizwal||East||Link|
|25||Nagaland Cricket Association||Nagaland||NA||East||NA|
|26||Odisha Cricket Association||Odisha||Cuttak||East||www.orissacricket.org|
|27||Cricket Association of Puducherry||Puducherry||Puducherry||South||www.cap-cricket.com|
|28||Punjab Cricket Association||Punjab||Mohali||North||www.cricketpunjab.in|
|29||Rajasthan Cricket Association||Rajasthan||Jaipur||Central||www.cricketrajasthan.in|
|30||Sikkim Cricket Association||Sikkim||Gangtok||East||www.sikkimcricket.com|
|31||Tamil Nadu Cricket Association||Tamil Nadu||Chennai||South||www.tnca.cricket|
|32||Hyderabad Cricket Association||Telangana||Hyderabad||South||www.hycricket.org|
|33||The Telangana Cricket Association||Telangana||Hyderabad||South||www.tcricket.in|
|34||Tripura Cricket Association||Tripura||Agartala||East||www.tcalive.com|
|35||Uttar Pradesh Cricket Association||Uttar Pradesh||Kanpur||Central||www.upca.tv|
|36||Cricket Association of Uttrakhand||Uttrakhand||Raipur||North||www.cauttarakhand.tv|
|37||Cricket Association of Bengal||West Bengal||Kolkata||East||www.cricketassociationofbengal.com|
It is important to keep yourself updated with the activities of your respective state cricket boards. The best way would be to connect with their office either in person or over phone. Their contact details are listed on the website mentioned above.
Your state cricket association will be able to guide you with regard to the umpire certification exam that shall be held your state. You will be able to get the dates.
The umpire certification courses and exams are purely need based. Thus, they do not have a fixed schedule. Therefore, it is of utmost importance to stay in touch with your respective state cricket associations to get the latest update on the dates of such programs.
Another way to keep yourself informed is through the website of the respective state cricket boards. Many cricket boards these days publish a circular on their website when they are planning to conduct the certification exams.
Pro Tip – When choosing to appear for an umpire certification exam, make sure to appear for your specific state only (even though there is no such restriction on cross-state participation). This is because once you pass the certification, you will need to officiate in the state association sponsored cricket matches. Living in another state would mean you will need to travel very frequently to another state. This may not be either practical or viable.
One last thing to note is that some states have multiple cricket boards. For example – the state of Maharashtra has three cricket boards – one each in the city of Mumbai, Pune and Nagpur. Reach out to your nearest cricket association.
Step 2 – Qualify in the Umpire Certification Exam
One of the most important steps towards becoming a cricket umpire is to qualify the umpire certification exam.
Here are a few things to know about the umpire certification exam –
- Most State Cricket Associations typically conduct a 4-day umpire certification program that provides the necessary training and information on becoming an Umpire.
- The first 3 days of this program is usually training & knowledge sharing and the umpire certification exam is held on the 4th day.
- The certification exam is usually based on the MCC laws (which are otherwise known as the 42 Laws of Cricket). Thus, you have to have thorough knowledge on the laws of cricket.
- The certification exam has 3 rounds. The first round is on the Theory. Only once you clear the first round do you qualify to participate in the next rounds of Practical & Oral Questioning (Viva).
- If you pass in all these rounds, you will qualify to officiate as an umpire in the matches organised by that specific state cricket association.
Step 3 – Participate in Matches Governed by your State Cricket Association
Once you’ve passed through the three rounds of the umpire certification examination, you will be recognised and qualified to participate as an umpire in matches organised by cricket association.
During these matches, in addition to decision making as an umpire, your performance is assessed through match reports which are recorded at the end of every match. You may need to officiate as an umpire for 2 to 3 years based on your performance. You may also be required to take yearly refresher assessments.
Once you start delivering consistent performance, you will surely get recognised and identified for BCCI Level 1 examination.
Step 4 – Pass the BCCI Level 1 Exam
The next step in becoming an umpire would be to taking the BCCI Level 1 examination.
In order to become eligible for taking the BCCI level 1 examination, you will need to go through an internal screening process. The parameters for this examination are note quite clear, however, it is largely related to your performance.
Upon getting shortlisted for BCCI Level 1 examination, you have to participate and attend a level 1 program organised by BCCI. The format of this program is somewhat similar in process to that of the umpire certification program.
Thus, you not only have to attend the program, but also clear the theory examination after attending this program.
Once you have cleared the BCCI level 1 examination, you have to complete the refresher course conducted by BCCI within a period of 1 year. Only upon successful completion of the refresher exam will you become eligible for the next step i.e. BCCI level 2 exam.
[Update: The requirement to complete the refresher course after passing BCCI level 1 examination has been eliminated from the process from 2019. Now, clearing level 1 theory will directly make you eligible for BCCI Level 2 theory examination]
Step 5 – Pass the BCCI Level 2 Exam
You become eligible for appearing in the BCCI Level 2 examination upon successful completion of the Level 1 refresher course organised by BCCI. As mentioned above, this refresher course has to be completed within 1 year of successfully clearing the BCCI Level 1 examination.
The BCCI level 2 examination is again similar in nature and format of the other exams previously mentioned. The level 2 examination is also conducted in 3 rounds i.e. Theory, and Practical & Oral Examination (Viva)
Once you have successfully completed the BCCI level 2 examination, you get empanelled as a BCCI Umpire. This means, you will now be eligible to participate in domestic and international matched organised by the BCCI itself.
Do I have to be a Former Cricketer to become an Umpire?
Absolutely NOT! You DO NOT have to be a former cricket player in order to become an umpire.
This is a very common misconception that a lot of people have about being a cricket umpire. However, there is no such requirement for an umpire to be a former cricketer.
Having said that, if you have played cricket professionally before, it certainly plays to your advantage. You also are able to get a good hold of the laws a lot more easily and quickly if you have had some cricket experience before.
For those who have not played cricket, you will need to put in a bit more effort initially and have a thorough knowledge of how cricket is played.
How much do Cricket Umpires get Paid? Is it Worth it?
Being a Cricket Umpire is a lot of hard work. Sometimes, it can even be more work than some of the cricket players!
However, cricket umpires don’t get paid even close to what a cricket player is paid. There is a lot of grind and hard work at the initial levels. But, once you start officiating at the national level, you can get paid a decent amount.
Salary of a BCCI Empanelled Umpire
The below table gives you a benchmark on what an umpire empanelled with BCCI gets paid –
Here’s how much a BCCI Empanelled Umpire gets paid
|Umpire Experience||Match Format||Amount/Match Day|
|Top Umpires (15-20)||ODI + Test||Rs. 40,000/-|
|Top Umpires (15-20)||T20||Rs. 20,000/-|
|Other Empanelled Umpires||ODI + Test||Rs. 30,000/-|
|Other Empanelled Umpires||T20||Rs. 15,000/-|
It is important to note that the amount paid is for the actual number of days that an umpire has officiated in a match.
However, for domestic T20 matches, the payment is per match (and not per day). Sometimes, there are two T20 cricket matches organised on the same day in the domestic circuit. In such a scenario, an umpire will get paid twice the amount mentioned in the table. (only applicable for T20 matches at domestic levels)
On average, non-empanelled umpires can make anywhere from Rs. 10,000/- to Rs. 15,000/- per match day.
However, the fee is significantly lower for local or other corporate matches. An umpire may be paid anywhere from Rs. 800/- to Rs. 1,500/- per match day.
Salary of an International Umpire
Umpires at the international level definitely get paid the highest. Even so, this is still nowhere close to what a cricket player would make. However, the amount can be decent for a good quality life and a serious career.
The pay structure for an umpire at the international level is slightly different. They get paid a fixed annual payment, and a fixed additional amount for a Test, ODI and T20 match depending on the number of matches they officiate at the international level.
A newly empanelled umpire to the ICC Elite Panel earns a minimum of $35,000 per year as a fixed annual fee. The umpire’s fixed contract amount can vary in a range of $35,000 to $45,000.
Here’s how much an ICC Elite Umpire get paid per match
|Umpire Experience||Annual Fixed Fee||Test Matches||ODIs||T20s|
An umpire from the ICC’s Elite panel typically gets to officiate in about 8-10 test matches in a year, and approximately 15 ODI and 10-12 T20 matches.
Thus, on average, the salary of an international umpire empanelled with the ICC’s Elite Panel is in the range of $115,000 to $140,000 annually!
Furthermore, during a particular year if there are any special ICC tournaments happening such as the cricket world cup, the umpire gets to make some extra income as he gets a few additional matches to officiate in.
In addition to the salaries mentioned above, the umpires in the ICC’s Elite Panel also receive other perks such as travel allowance, fully paid-up top hotel accommodations, traveling in business class with Emirates, and a few days of paid vacation once annually that leverages the ICC’s partnership with Emirates.
For other T20 leagues such as the IPL, an umpire gets paid about $2800 per match which is much higher than even an international T20 match fee. However, umpires officiating in the IPL T20 tournament have to be empanelled with ICC.
Age Limits for becoming a Cricket Umpire in India
In order to become an umpire in India, the individual has to be at least 18 years or older. Similarly, an individual can serve a cricket umpire in India until the age of 55. Post which, he/she shall have to retire.
Here are a few other noteworthy points to keep in mind when it comes to the age of an umpire –
- Minimum age to become an umpire with state associations – 18 years
- Maximum age to appear for BCCI L1 Examination – 40 years
- Maximum age to appear for BCCI L2 Examination – 45 years
- Retirement age for an umpire in India in general – 55 years
- Retirement age if officiated in at least 1 ODI or T20 international match – 58 years
- Retirement age if officiated in at least 1 international Test Match – 60 years
There have been many debates on this differential system of retirement age for Indian cricket umpires. The umpires association feels that the retirement age of all umpires should be 60 irrespective of their international experience.
In contrast, the retirement age for cricket umpires in some other countries like Australia and England is much higher at 65 years.
Pros & Cons of being a Cricket Umpire
In India, cricket is not just a sport, it is a religion! People, even as spectators, try to get on TV to become famous. Thus, being an umpire definitely brings enough attention, and with it a few pros and cons. Let’s look at some of them –
- Global Recognition –
Being a cricket umpire almost instantly bring global recognition as the matches are telecasted to many countries throughout the globe.
- Respectable Job –
Cricket is a gentleman’s game and an umpire is almost always addressed as “Sir”. This means, you get great respect even from the biggest and most well-known cricket players in the world!
- More than Decent Pay –
Once you are able to officiate in the national and international matches, the pay is fairly good.
- Get to Travel a Lot –
Just like the cricket players, an umpire gets to travel quite a good amount. You get to see the world and you get paid for it!
- Watch the Matches up close –
One of the biggest advantages of being an umpire is to watch the matches from up close! If you are passionate about cricket, nothing can get bigger than this. Just imagine – you get to be part of several historic matches and you don’t even have to pay for it!
With every job comes certain challenges. It is no different for a cricket umpire. Here are some of the challenges that you face as a cricket umpire –
- High Stress Levels –
A cricket match can often become a close encounter and stress levels can become very high – even for an umpire. In such a situation, even a single wrong decision can have a negative impact not just on the game but also on the career of the umpire!
- High Fitness Levels –
Umpires need to be standing on the field throughout the match. This can be tough and require good fitness levels.
- Strong International Competition –
There are several umpires currently in the international circuit, and getting in can be a bit tough. In the past few years, very few Indian umpires have been able to make the cut into the ICC’s Elite Panel.
How many Official Umpires does BCCI have?
The number of official umpires empanelled with the BCCI after clearing the BCCI Level Exam is generally in the range of 110 to 140. The number keeps changing every other year as new umpires are added and a few umpires retire or get removed.
Which Umpire holds the Record for Officiating Most Cricket Matches
Pakistan’s Aleem Dar holds the record for officiating most number of international matches cumulatively. Aleem Dar has stood as an umpire in a total of 386 combined matches (Tests, ODIs and T20s).
Umpires who have officiated in most cricket matches (Combined)
Umpires who have Officiated in Most Test Matches
Aleem Dar of Pakistan also holds the record of being an umpire in maximum number of test matches.
Umpires who have Officiated in Most ODI Matches
Rudi Koertzen of South Africa currently holds the record of standing as an umpire in most number of ODI matches. However, Aleem Dar is just 1 match behind and mostly likely should be able to take the number one position soon.
Umpires who have Officiated in Most T20 Matches
Who are the Top 5 Indian Cricket Umpires?
There have been a number of Indian cricket umpires officiating matches at the international level. However, only a few have been able to make it a big success.
Here’s a list of top 5 Cricket Umpires from India (based on the combined number of matches officiated) –
|S. No||Name||Career Span||Matches|
Former Indian cricketer and off-spinner S Venkatraghavan holds the record for officiating the most number of test matches (73) and ODI matches (52) from India. Whereas, AK Chaudhary holds the record for officiating in the most number of T20 matches (28).
To have a career as a cricketer, you need to start at an early age. However, if you think you have missed that bus, but are still passionate about the game and would like to have a career in it, then being an umpire is definitely a great option!
However, one needs to keep in mind that there is a lot of hard work, passion and patience that is required to become a cricket umpire.
I hope this post has at least given you some insight into the career of a cricket umpire. I wish you all the very best in your journey!
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