35 of the 58 UAE umpires trained by Mahboob Shah (front row, centre, in grey) in November 2012

He has been one of Pakistan’s foremost umpires and, post-retirement is an Umpiring Resource Person* for the ACC. When you look like Mahboob Shah, when you are in the presence of Mahboob Shah, it feels like a blessing’s going to come forth at any moment. And so they have, in the UAE this time. In November Mr. Shah conducted two Level I Courses in Abu Dhabi and Sharjah, dispensing wisdom and benedictions to a new cadre of umpiring disciples on his first visit to the UAE since 2005.

58 aspirants presented themselves to Mr. Shah over two weeks. “As is well known the quality of Cricket played in the UAE is not only better but its volume is greater than anywhere else in the non-Test playing Asian Countries,” says Mr. Shah, “but unfortunately they have very few ACC qualified umpires. As a result there is considerable shortage of good umpires in the UAE.” They were Level I Courses so Mr. Shah simply emphasised the basics: knowledge of the Laws of Cricket and the Playing Conditions. “The aim is to boost their confidence in themselves and be commanding players’ respect,” affirms the doyen, “if the umpires don’t know the Laws inside out it results in decreased confidence of players in umpires.”

As with the other ACC Development Officers and Resource Persons, Mr. Shah’s aim is to develop a self-sustaining system in the countries he visits, one that can manage to keep standards high in his absence. To that end, he says, “the two course co-ordinators Zaheer Ul Haque (Abu Dhabi) and Iftikhar Ahmad (Sharjah), who are the only two ACC Level-II Umpires in the UAE active at present, have promised to hold umpires meetings and refresh their knowledge on a continuous basis. Candidates were made aware of this necessary aspect of their umpiring. It was also emphasised to them that English being the language of Cricket as also of Cricket umpiring, they should have working knowledge of the language if they aspired exposure to higher grades of cricket.”

Lady Umpires during a course conducted by Mahboob Shah in Iran in September 2006

He may look like a much-favoured uncle but he’s tough too, is Mahboob Shah. “The shortcomings noticed during the practical were fully explained to the umpires, with the hope that the mistakes will not be repeated,” says the umpiring legend. 58 came to his two courses. 38 passed.

Following the posting of the course results, Emirates Cricket Board Administrator Mazhar Khan contacted ACC Development Manager Bandula Warnapura to say that, “the group of successful umpires shall be closely monitored in further enhancing their stature, while those who did not get through, will be put through more domestic games to improve and learn.”

UAE Cricket Profile
Mahboob Shah in Malaysia

*[Along with Bomi Jamula (India) and Peter Manuel (Sri Lanka)]

Filed December 4th, 2012