According to the club secretary, Bernie Smith, a back injury forced Taufel to take up umpiring. “Owing to a back injury while representing our club, Simon had to stay away from the game. We were sad to miss such a good player like him as he had potential to be a good fast bowler,” Smith said from Sydney yesterday.
But the Sydney-based club is proud of Taufel. “However, we are happy to see him as a champion in his umpiring career. We are very proud of his contribution to the game,” he added.
The story of Taufel turning an umpire from a fast bowler is interesting. It was fellow cricketer David Budge, who arm-twisted him to join an umpiring course organised by New South Wales Cricket Umpires and Scorers Association (NSWCUSA).
A hesitant Taufel joined the course at Budge’s insistence. But on completion of the course, Taufel secured 85 percent while Budge failed.
The rest is history. Taufel went on to bag International Cricket Council’s Best Umpire of the Year award five times. Budge thereafter had no association with the game. “He (Budge) now is a nomad truck driver and is a hard man to keep track of,” an aquaintance of Taufel said from Colombo. Taufel (42) will be taking up a new assignment with the ICC to coach and train young umpires.