Greetings from Dubai. It’s been a busy three weeks since I was last in touch.
It was great to officiate the ICC T20 Qualifying tournament in the UAE with a group of up and coming International / Associate Panel umpires. We started off with a two day training workshop and then got stuck into the 70+ match event. It was a full on for me with eight T20 matches in the first 4 days and I ended up officiating 12 matches and seeing Afghanistan and Ireland qualify for the World T20 event in Sri Lanka in September.
The umpires and referees were great to work with, on and off the field. We managed to get in a couple of team events during the tournament that included an evening dinner at the Dubai Fountain, a cultural breakfast at the national learning centre and an evening cruise on Dubai Creek.
As you can see in the photo above, we had a few laughs and enjoyed learning more about the Arabic culture of the region. Good food and great entertainment provided by our local host, Nasif, who became known to us all as “good to go” Nasif. (He was a very western Emirati).
Following this tournament, I then headed off to Kegworth (via Birmingham) in the UK to attend the ECB umpires’ conference and deliver some ICC 3rd umpire Accreditation training. It was a pleasure to catch up with former colleagues like Peter Willey who I have not seen for close to 10 years. We spent the night before the conference at the local greyhound racing track where I showed the lads my betting skills – I managed to back 8 last places out of 12 races and the only winner I picked ended up being a dead heat which returned a half win dividend! I’ve been told many times that I’ve “gone to the dogs” and “you sure know how to pick em” but this time I really outdid myself.
The English weather really delivered for the couple of days that I was there but we were stuck inside the conference room covering topics like world class, effective communication, changes to playing conditions and Accreditation.
Straight after the conference I was on a flight that night back to Dubai to prepare for and attend the ICC Elite Panel training conference being held this weekend. The weather is starting to warm up here and there are plenty of holiday makers around the hotel. No holiday for me though as we head into another solid couple of training days and then off to India on Monday for the start of the IPL competition.
I hope all is fine wherever you are and wish everyone a safe, happy and Holy Easter.
Take care, Simon.