Sri Lanka’s Kumar Dharmasena, member of the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) elite panel of umpires is certainly on a role.
The assessment of Dharmasena’s performances in the six months between July 1 to December 31, 2011 has been so remarkable that he’s earned an almost 100 percent rating on correct decisions in both Tests and One-Day Internationals.
In the period under review Dharmasena got 97.13 percent decisions right in the four Tests he officiated and was 100 percent right with his decisions in the five ODIs which gave him an overall percentage of 98 percent correct decisions in both Tests and ODIs, placing him amongst the top umpires in the Elite Panel.
The ICC Elite Panel comprises 12 umpires and Dharmasena gained promotion to that panel in May last year. Bill Bowden and Tony Hill (both New Zealand), Aleem Dar and Asad Rauf (both Pakistan), Steve Davis, Simon Taufel and Rod Tucker (all Australia), Marais Erasmus (South Africa), and Ian Gould, Richard Kettleborough and Nigel Llong (all England) are the others.
“I am honoured and delighted to have been selected,” Dharmasena said when he was elevated. “To umpire alongside the most respected names in this noble profession and be included on the elite panel is something I wanted to achieve ever since I started umpiring. My next target is to continue to work hard, make good decisions and justify my inclusion.”
Dharmasena has certainly justified his inclusion as his current performances reveal.
An important member of Sri Lanka’s World Cup winning squad of 1996, Dharmasena retired from competitive cricket in November 2006 to pursue a career in umpiring and made his international debut in 2009. He was part of the 18 umpires selected for the 2011 World Cup in India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh and had the honour of officiating in the tournament opener between India and Bangladesh at Mirpur.
He was promoted to the Elite Panel soon afterwards along with England’s Richard Kettleborough. They replaced another umpire from Sri Lanka Asoka de Silva and Australia’s Darryl Harper, both of whom had controversial umpiring histories.
Last year for the period from July 1, 2010 to June 30, 2011 Dharmasena had 96.72 percent correct decisions in Tests and 96.04 percent in ODIs. Thus in his first two years as an international umpire Dharmasena has shown a certain degree of consistency which is what makes a good umpire.
“Many cricketers pursue different careers after they have finished playing. I chose umpiring because it gives me a chance to be very close to the game which I love so dearly. Nobody encouraged me to take to umpiring. It was my own decision. After my cricket career was over I thought of taking to umpiring. It had been weighing in my mind for the past few years,” said Dharmasena.
“Because I loved it so much I sat for the exams and got through them easily. Whatever you do you must enjoy it. I find it very easy to handle the players because I have played so much of cricket at international level,” he said.
Dharmasena, 41, represented his country in 31 Tests and 141 ODIs between 1993 and 2004 as a spinner bowling fast off-breaks and a useful late order batsman. He has so far officiated in 9 Tests, 36 ODIs and 3 Twenty20 Internationals. He is at present the TV umpire for the first Test between England and South Africa taking place at the Kennington Oval, London.