16 to receive gold medals and certificates
Janashakthi Insurance the first to felicitate our retired cricket umpires

Cricket umpires around the world are called the "Gentlemen in the White Coat" who belong to their respective associations under the title (ACU and the name of the country) which means Association of Cricket Umpires. For example, in Sri Lanka it was known earlier as the ACUSL (Association of Cricket Umpires Sri Lanka) which today has been modified as The Association of Cricket Umpires and Scorers Sri Lanka.

It should be noted that all ACUSLs are affiliated to the ACU in England which is the headquarters.

To become an umpire; one has to qualify by officiating the required percentage of marks after sitting for a written examination set by the Board of Examinations of his respective ACU. The exam is set on the 42 Laws of Cricket and its amendments laid down by the Marylebone Cricket Club in London. The minimum pass mark is 80 per cent.

Also, every ACU comes under the purview of its respective Board of Control for Cricket.

Talking of the ACUSL, it was originated by the late Dodwell Soyza of the Survey General’s Department in the thirties and had in it such umpires as Johnny Murray, Lucky Mayo, Laddie Bakelmun, Clifford John, A. C. Ahmath (Snr), Joe Saverimuttu, E. V. Gunasekera etc.

Subsequently, the association was kept alive by a further large membership and today it stands as an indispensable body.

Sri Lanka became a full fledged Test playing nation in 1982 and eversince several Lankan umpires have officiated in Tests and ODIs played by Sri Lanka and also in similar matches played by other Test nations under the law laid down by the ICC which deals with neutral umpires.

Many senior Sri Lankan umpires are now retired under the age rule and have gone down the lane of forgotten memories. The untiring and admirable services rendered by them to the country, the game and also the game authorities seem to have been written on sand.

However, for the very first time an outside source has come forward to honour and appreciate the good work done by 16 retired senior umpires. It is Janashakthi Insurance Company who will award those umpires with gold medals and certificates at a felicitation ceremony to be held at the P. Saravanamuttu Stadium in Wanathamulla, Borella on January 30 (Thursday) at 4.00 p.m. A tea party for all invitees present will follow the felicitation ceremony.

Among the 16 recipients will be veteran Granville Hamer (Snr.) (now in his late eighties) and Ajith C. S. Perera who is presently confined to a wheel chair after he became a paraplegic following an unforseen accident about 10 years ago when a branch of a massive tree in Bullers Road Colombo fell on his moving car (on the eve of officiating in his first Test match).

Janashakthi Insurance Co. Ltd Managing Director Chandra T. A. Schaffter will be the chief guest with Media Minister Imthiasz Bakeer Markar as guest of honour. An official from the ACU+S England will be a special invitee. (RLF)