‘Match should be won fairly and squarely’ – Imran Khan’s efforts to introduce neutral umpiring in cricket
Imran Khan became the first skipper to be vocal about neutral umpiring.
Updated - Nov 9, 2020 10:11 pm
The world of cricket would have witnessed various cases of partial umpiring till the 1980s before a bold call was initiated by Imran Khan, the current Prime Minister of Pakistan. He was the first skipper in the history of cricket who started raising his voice for neutral umpiring so that impartial decisions could be made on the field, and both the teams had a fair chance of winning the match
Khan recently shared a video on his Instagram handle, which showed the realities of cricket back in those times. Cricket is known as ‘the gentlemen’s game,’ but it lacked neutrality as maximum nations would walk up with their own umpire against the visiting side. However, Imran Khan became the flag bearer of the change, which he called up for in 1986. The legendary all-rounder became the first one to call for neutral umpires between two sides.
He called Indian match officials for the match between Pakistan and West Indies. He held on to his bold decision and then invited English umpires John Hampshire and John Holder for Pakistan’s home series against India in 1989-90. Gradually, his decision became the centre of appreciation, as it was mandatory to uphold the integrity of the game.
It was after Imran Khan’s decision that the world of cricket accepted, neutral umpiring is a must to maintain the spirit of the ‘gentlemen’s game.’ It was finally in 1992 when ICC began to bring one neutral umpire in each Test. “In order to keep up the spirit of the game, what is the most essential feature? In my opinion, it is fairness. You must win the match with fairness,” read the premier stated in the video.
Here is the video posted by Imran Khan
View this post on Instagram
Imran Khan was criticised a lot
Imran Khan was even criticized a lot for his decision as people thought that partiality has become the part and parcel of cricket. “However, I believed that the match should always be won fairly and squarely. Both the playing teams should have faith in the umpires appointed,” he stated in his video. After his constant efforts to brush off partiality from the game, the world of cricket entirely adopted neutral umpiring in 2002.