Indian umpire Nitin Menon, who received plaudits for his near-flawless showing in the India-England Tests, has revealed that his ultimate dream is to officiate in the Ashes some day. Menon, who has officiated in 7 Tests to date, was inducted into ICC’s Elite Panel of Umpires in June 2020.
The recently-concluded four-Test series between India and England saw many an individual come up with clutch performances, but no cricketer came remotely close to matching the consistency of umpire Nitin Menon. Appointed as one of the on-field umpires across all four Tests due to him being a part of the ICC’s Elite Panel, Menon had a series to remember, barely putting a foot wrong across 14 days of high-octane action. The 37-year-old displayed gold standards of officiating in the series, and, as a result of the same, saw himself receive plaudits from the entire cricketing fraternity.
Thus far, each of the 7 Tests Menon has officiated in has featured at least one sub-continent side, but the 37-year-old, who now has four years of international experience under his belt, has set his sights on bigger goals. Speaking to WION, Menon revealed that he now hopes to officiate in the Ashes, describing the same as his ultimate dream.
“Definitely the ICC T20 World Cup and hopefully, the upcoming Ashes as well. These are the two immediate targets for me. The Ashes is like a dream and it would be great if I could officiate in the series,” Menon told WION.
Officiating in the sub-continent, in general, can be arduous owing to the sharp turn and inconsistent bounce the wickets tend to offer, but Menon, in the India-England series, oversaw extreme conditions. Both the second and the third Tests were played on wickets that disintegrated from the very first day, thereby making umpiring burdensome. The 37-year-old revealed that officiating on similar, tricky tracks in the domestic circuit helped him acclimatize quicker, but insisted that, just like the players, it is also imperative for the umpires to adapt to conditions.
“We (Indian umpires) get plenty of experience in Ranji Trophy or other domestic tournaments. Over the years, we know how a certain pitch or ball will behave in particular conditions. Both spinning conditions and seaming conditions possess a different set of challenges and it is the same for umpires like players, we have to adapt to conditions quickly,” Menon said.
A feature of Menon’s officiating in the India-England series was the accuracy with which he nailed marginal calls. Close to a dozen times in the series, there were ‘Umpire’s Call’ decisions made by the 37-year-old that turned out to be right, thereby infuriating both sets of fans and players. The debate surrounding the Umpire’s Call has been never-ending, but Menon is of the opinion that the rule empowers the umpire and, therefore, is here to stay.
“With umpire's call, we are sure that the decision wasn't wrong. There will always be marginal calls during the match. Our final call will always be based on what the third umpire is telling us in that case.”