CHENNAI: Not everyday do you see the captain of a Ranji side umpiring. It came as a bit of a surprise to find Ramaswamy Prasanna, former Tamil Nadu skipper, wearing the black and white uniform at the TNCA Plate final that ended at Chepauk on Wednesday.
Speaking to Express, the 34-year-old who was part of the Ranji XI last season, revealed an individual was his prime motivation. “K Srininvasan, former TN player who is umpire now, is my role model in everything, be it umpiring or cricket.”
The batsman started with lower divisions (2, 3, 4, 5) and school games. After conducting his first three-day game, he feels playing is easier than umpiring. “It’s a great challenge physically and mentally. To stand and umpire in Chennai heat for three days isn’t easy. Fitness matters if you want to keep playing and do umpiring simultaneously.”
The veteran of 59 first-class games is familiar with the way players pressurise umpires. “As umpire, my duty is to be authoritative on the field. We should be firm and right body language is necessary to avoid confrontations. The first thing we learn is to treat everyone equally, be it an India or U-19 player.”
Prasanna feels the knowledge of laws among players is limited, but says the last five years have given him enough experience. After clearing the TNCA screening test, he is gearing up for the BCCI Level 1 exam. “Umpiring for five years has improved my game. I’m able to understand the game better now that I know the rules,” said the left-hander.
Having started umpiring at the age of 27, Prasanna is not done playing. As players and officials were walking away, he stressed on the need to focus on his game.
“I love umpiring. But cricket is my life and I want to continue playing as long as I am fit. Tamil Nadu had a bad season, but we can come back stronger.”