The only Indian umpire on the list of the ICC Elite panel, Nitin Menon shared his experience of officiating in home matches and said that the Indian team puts pressure on the officials.
After being inducted into the ICC Elite Panel in June 2020, Menon did the majority of India's home games due to COVID-19-induced travel restrictions put in place for foreigners.
Menon will be seen officiating in the last three Tests of the ongoing Ashes 2023 series and said that he finds standing in overseas matches much easier than at home in India.
"When India plays in India there is a lot of hype, a lot of big stars in the Indian team they always try to create pressure on you, they always try to get those 50-50 decisions in favor of them but if we are in control of ourselves under pressure, then we don't focus on what they are trying to do.
It just shows that I am strong enough to handle any situation rather than getting worked up by the pressure created by players. That has given me a lot of self-confidence,” Menon told PTI.
He also got to officiate in a couple of T20 World Cups in UAE and Australia and he was in England last year for their home series against South Africa, taking his match tally to 15 Tests, 24 ODIs, and 20 T20 Internationals since June 2020.
Menon also said it was a blessing in disguise that he got to do so many games over the past three years.
"It has been an amazing experience working in the Indian sub-continent in the first two years, doing Test matches and then getting to officiate in T20 World Cups in Australia and Dubai. I am working with the best match officials and players have added to my umpiring experience. I have learned a lot about my character, how I behave under pressure, so lots of positives,” he added.
Menon spoke about how former India pacer-turned-match referee Javagal Srinath has been of huge help.
"He has a lot of experience not only as a referee but also as a player. I and other Indian umpires got to learn a lot from him. He is one person who has changed the way we look at the game and taught us how to treat players. He always says that getting the respect of the players is paramount as an umpire. Not to just punish the players if they have done something wrong. He advises us to try and gain the trust of the players.
There are a few things where lines can't be crossed and we have to be firm on that but there are things that can be managed by quietly speaking to the players. This is something we have tried to do in the last few years under his guidance," said Menon.
Menon concluded by saying that things are on the up for Indian umpires and he expects to get company in the ICC Elite Panel soon.
"There are a couple of very good umpires coming up. I don't think I will be the only one, sure there will be a couple who can rise the ladder if given proper exposure. I don't think Indian umpires are lacking in anything. The most important thing is to give them exposure at the right time. If we do that, we will find more umpires,” he signed off.