The 2020 edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) is set to feature a plethora of Indian umpires as, reportedly, multiple overseas umpires from the Elite panel have willingly opted out of the competition. Several big names, including Kumar Dharmasena, are believed to give the tournament a miss.
With just over a fortnight left for the 13th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) to commence, the BCCI and the competition have been dealt with a minor blow as it is believed that, thus far, a total of just three overseas umpires from the ICC Elite Panel have agreed to officiate in the tournament. This will be a significant downgrade from the previous seasons, all of which featured a total of at least six overseas Elite umpires, and it is also expected that Javagal Srinath will be the only personnel from the ‘Elite” panel of match referees who will be available.
According to a TOI report, it might very well be possible that the officials, some of them being in the vulnerable 60+ age category, might have willingly pulled out to keep themselves safe during these tumultuous times. The publication was informed of the same by a source close to the BCCI.
"The Elite panel umpires draw a heavy package from ICC's contract. So, they are not exactly jobless. They don't want to take any risk in these times," a BCCI source was quoted as saying by TOI.
According to the source, several Elite overseas umpires rejected the BCCI’s offer and a notable name who is not set to feature in the forthcoming edition of the tournament is Sri Lanka’s Kumar Dharmasena. The Lankan umpire, the source revealed, rejected the offer citing that he’ll be busy with cricket in Sri Lanka.
"BCCI had approached quite a few Elite umpires but they have rejected the offer. For instance, Kumar Dharmasena, who has been a regular in IPL over the years, has categorically said no to BCCI. He said he would be busy with cricket in Sri Lanka," the source added.
As things stand, it is believed that New Zealand’s Chris Gaffaney and England’s Richard Illingworth and Michael Gough are the only three overseas Elite umpires who have agreed to officiate in the tournament. It is also believed that the reason behind the BCCI roping in both Gaffaney and Gough was the duo’s bio-bubble experience.
"BCCI preferred umpires with experience of officiating matches in a bubble. That's why the two Englishmen have been hired.”
Anil Chaudhary, C Shamshuddin, Virender Sharma, KN Ananthapadmanabhan and former Elite panel umpire S Ravi are said to be the Indian umpires who will feature in the tournament.
The ICC, recently, introduced additional DRS reviews across formats to help both the players and the umpires, but it remains to be seen whether the BCCI will implement the same in IPL 2020 to combat the absence of Elite Panel umpires.