Anil Kumble helps reinstate five match referees
In a decision that surprised many observers, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) suddenly sacked five match referees, including B Raghunath (Karnataka), Anand Patel (Madhya Pradesh), Balbir Singh (Punjab), Raju Mukherjee (Bengal) and Kalyan Sundaram (TN) earlier this season.
The reason given for their exclusion was that they were over 60-years-old, the age at which they were supposed to retire. This decision was believed to be the handiwork of some lower category officials in the Board as they wanted to push the case of their own recruits.
However, the decision to remove the five referees was overturned at the BCCI’s Working Committee meeting in Kolkata on Sunday, thanks largely to Anil Kumble’s intervention.
Kumble, who is now the president of Karnataka State Cricket Association (KSCA) felt that these referees who are ex-cricketers should not be insulted in such a manner.
“There is no reason why they cannot be given one more year. Why were they told in the middle of the season that their services are not required?,” Kumble asked.
“BCCI has nominated a few of them on the ICC panel as well because they believe they are the best. So I will request board members that if they really believe match referees should not be assigned matches once they cross 60, they should implement this rule from next year. They must retain their services for this season,” he added.
Senior board officials found Kumble’s argument logical and immediately endorsed it. The five of them have been reinstated and this decision will not require any ratification by any other committee.