Ex-international umpire Shastri happy doing Harris final

Updated: Dec 13, 2017, 09:28 IST | Akshay Jagtap

Al-Barkaar MMI (Kurla) and Swami Vivekanand International School (Kandivli), currently facing each other in the Harris Shield final at Bombay Gymkhana

Al-Barkaar MMI (Kurla) and Swami Vivekanand International School (Kandivli), currently facing each other in the Harris Shield final at Bombay Gymkhana, can be confident that there won't be any blunders as far as decision-making from umpires are concerned. The match is officiated by veteran umpire Suresh Shastri with Nikhil Patil being the other official. Shastri became the first Indian umpire in 2013 to officiate in 100 first-class matches. He has also stood in 19 ODIs and two Test matches. The left-arm spinner, who represented Rajasthan in domestic cricket, but played his school and club cricket on the maidans of Mumbai in the 1970s, was happy to see the talent emerging through tournaments like Harris and Giles.

Umpire Suresh Shastri. Pic/SAYYED SAMEER ABEDI
Umpire Suresh Shastri. Pic/SAYYED SAMEER ABEDI

Stern action, please
However, Shastri is disappointed over age-fudging being rampant and felt action has to be taken immediately to ensure consistent performances by players at the higher level. "The Giles and Harris Shield make up the foundation of Mumbai cricket. It's a pipeline that has produced great cricketers, but we have to control age fudging. When a cricketer plays against boys who are not at the same age group, he scores tons of runs, but once he graduates to a higher level, he gets exposed. Action has to be taken immediately," Shastri, who represented Shree Dayanand Balak Balika Vidyalaya (Matunga), said on Monday. Shastri, now retired, had witnessed Sri Lanka's Muttiah Muralitharan pick his 700th wicket during the Kandy Test v Bangladesh in 2007, from the best possible position. Another cause of concern for Shastri, 62, is the exceeding involvement of coaches and parents on the field.

Parents, gurus must chill
"It's very easy to control the players, but coaches and parents are not allowing players to express themselves on the field by passing on instructions. In this way, players fail to concentrate on the match," he said. "When I used to play, our coach Ramakant Achrekar sir would be present at the start of the match, but he never sat through the whole day," Shastri said.

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