Opportunity and challenge in store for local umpires
Bangladeshi umpires have been conspicuous by their absence from the International Cricket Council's (ICC's) elite panel, from which umpires are usually chosen to officiate in Test matches.
One of the main reasons for their absence is the lack of experience in operating Test matches as local umpires have not officiated in Tests since 2002.
In ODIs, there is a combination of one ICC umpire and a local umpire, while in T20Is, local umpires are in charge.
Although there are no umpires from Bangladesh in ICC's elite panel of umpires, there are four in the ICC international panel of umpires. Sharfuddoula Ibne Shahid, Tanvir Ahmed, Masudur Rahman Mukul and Gazi Sohel are on the international panel but are yet to experience officiating Test matches.
With the ICC Cricket Committee recommended the appointment of local match officials (umpires and match referees) on an interim basis to avoid international travel in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, it will be a huge opportunity for the Bangladeshi umpires to showcase their talents in the upcoming home series against the West Indies.
So far only four Bangladeshi umpires have had the opportunity to officiate in Test matches -- AFM Akhtaruddin, Showkotur Rahman, Mahbubur Rahman and Enamul Haque Moni.
Enamul, who already retired from umpiring, said the upcoming home series against West Indies will be a huge opportunity for local umpires to showcase their worth. The visitors are scheduled to play a two-match Test series along with a three-match ODI series.
"Obviously, it's a great opportunity. It's a huge honour to officiate in a Test match and I think it's a great opportunity for Bangladeshi umpires. As far as I know, the local umpires will officiate in Test matches due the Covid-19 pandemic so it's a great chance for Bangladeshi umpires to showcase their talent.
"If local umpires could perform well on the field and also as TV umpires, then I am sure the ICC will think that Bangladeshi umpires are capable enough to be promoted to the top stages in the coming days," Enamul told the media yesterday.
While it will be a big opportunity, it also will not be easy for relatively inexperienced Bangladeshi umpires to take sole charge in the uniquely demanding atmosphere of a Test match.