Simon Taufel's last stand
It's the last stand for Simon Taufel on Sunday. The culmination of the World T20 in Sri Lanka will be the final curtain call on what has been an illustrious career.
I have had plenty to do with Simon over the years and I
personally hope he has a 'blinder' and signs off his sterling umpiring
career in fine style. I am confident that his typically consistent
performance will add to what promises to be a riveting spectacle.
All sports are best played when the officiating lawmen are predominantly
invisible but I think on this occasion we should allow Simon sincere
recognition, such has been his excellence.
I know the commentators will send
him off in the correct style and no doubt the presentation ceremony will
feature a treasured handover. Simon will walk off the podium with a wave, in
his normally unhurried gait.
As much as the moment will be significant, my
overwhelming feeling will be that his move into an administrative role with
the ICC will leave a void.
He has been the best I have seen or worked with. Simon on duty was
He single-handedly changed the attitude of
umpires around the cricketing world when he first arrived on the elite panel
as he strived for perfection by introducing his own stamp of influence.
His pre-game preparation was always intense and meticulous and as per normal
it will be the same on Sunday. Those who strive to be the best adjudicators
in this game have made no bones about the fact the he has inspired them and
they admit that he has shown them how it should be done.
He introduced a
whole new attitude within umpiring circles and initially I am sure rattled a
few cages. For example, he was the first to adopt a visible fitness regime
in an effort to improve his standards and I am certain that caused some
consternation among his colleagues.
Simon has always been in control over the years and players and media alike
have felt that there was an element of comfort whenever he was present. It
is no surprise whatsoever that he has been such a champion of his craft. He
simply leaves nothing to chance.
A few years ago when I was extensively involved in the Caribbean, I dealt
with Simon on a consistent basis as we rewrote the code for the Umpires
Decision Review System for a specific televised event.
Over a period of a
couple of months we had constant communication to ensure the system we
designed was sufficiently superior.
Simon's attention to detail was
extraordinary as he steadfastly committed to ensure this newly-designed
process was an improved, faultless version. Emails flooded my inbox at all
hours as he checked on specifics from wherever he was on duty around the
globe. In his own indomitable way he was never content until all his
questions were satisfactorily answered.
I have felt privileged to get to know Simon well over the years and he
informed me immediately following South Africa's historic test victory
against England at Lord's a few months ago that he was stepping down very
That soon has now come.
Thanks Simon for your superb service to the game.