Friday, December 1, 2023

Umpire bowled over by Botswana ladies cricket

South African based international cricket umpire Shaun George says he is impressed with the growth of ladies’ cricket in Botswana and in the region.
The consummate umpire, who is in the Cricket South Africa and International Cricket Council (ICC) Elite Panel of Umpires said the level of play displayed by the young women at the ongoing Botswana Cricket Association (BCA) was very high.
Fresh from the ICC Women’s World Cup, where he officiated in the finals, George said from what he has seen in the tournament thus far, ‘there is a marginal difference between the games at the tournament and the ones he is from at the women’s cup.’
“The skill level is the same, and it takes a lot of hard work to climb to the next level, and self-ability does pay its due,” he observed.
Speaking in an interview, George said from the games he had watched, the young ladies’ foundations in cricket are very strong and with proper nurturing, they could only grow from strength to strength.
, George said of utmost importance, there is a lot of passion, dedication relish and gusto displayed by cricket players here in Botswana and other neighboring countries. 
He noted that this does not happen in games that are at a higher level, as they are preoccupied with winning, but the ladies at the ongoing tournament were enjoying their game while delivering.
“I am very happy with the team’s performances, and I have told them that all of them are winners, there are no losers in these games. This is because I can see the passion in their eyes, and the basics of the sport in them,” he said.
He however said for the ladies to reach potential, they need more exposure to help them develop them mentally and fitness wise. 
“Each of the teams in this tournament need to play more often, play teams with different strengths and capabilities so that they can grow into unbeatable teams, ” George said.
Having officiated at the Finals between England & India in the recently concluded Women’s World Cup at the Lords in England, something which he said is a dream come true, George said he now seeks to impart the knowledge he had gained on other upcoming umpires, hence his decision to visit Botswana.
“It has been a dream come true, because one gets the experience from other internationally recognized umpires and learn from them,” he added.
“I have been with Cricket South Africa for eight seasons now, in 2011 had my first debut at Port Elizabeth, to date I have done 24 international, 29 matches and the next goal is obviously to do a test match which takes time but hopefully I will get there, 2013 I was in India in the finals and lastly the one in England. And that was my third layer in the women’s final games and fortunate enough to be part of the highlights of officiating in the final’s games and getting experience the occasions”
George noted that it is up to umpires to develop their skills through opportunities presented before them as one important factor of developing cricket in their countries. He said “We are hoping to see cricket growing in Botswana, with them including it in school levels structures as adopted by Kenya, Namibia and Zimbabwe for the purposes of development, .”
He concluded by saying that his contribution in this tournament is to share his experiences and information with the umpires and give them feedback so as they get learned, thus helping them to move to another level of empowerment and inspiration. He added saying ‘The margins are the same with umpires, and everyone can make decisions, takes that one person who is different from someone else with their competency.”
Moreover, George said it is his pleasure to share all the relevant information with other local and regional umpires during this tournament.  He added that “I’m very pleased to be sharing all this information as it will make a difference in the cricket growth in these countries, as well as carry it across the region and get other umpires quickly to the level of International standards. The beauty about it, is the umpires are very receptive of the information, and they absorb it and eager to learn, and very vital that we share, and that’s how umpiring grows and the whole system.” 



Read this week's paper