Local umpire to get English County experience
Rising Jamaican umpire Verdayne Smith believes his planned sojourn in England will make him a better cricket official.
One of three Jamaicans on the West Indies Cricket Board's (WICB) senior panel of umpires, Smith is set to visit England in May for three rounds of first-class county matches.
This is as a result of a Tri-Nation Umpire Exchange Programme (UEP) between the boards of the West Indies, England and Bangladesh.
"My goal is to make it to the level of umpiring Test matches, and that still remains my dream," noted the 38-year-old Smith.
"I know that it will be a hard road but as always I have been improving myself with that goal in mind and I see the England exchange as another step on the road to Test cricket."
Entering the profession in 2000, and elevated to senior panel three years ago, Smith will be the second Jamaican who will feature in the exchange programme.
The first was Patrick Gustard, who went to England in 2014, and last year was sent to Sri Lanka.
Gustard, the top national umpire, also officiated in the WICB Super50 one-day final in Trinidad and Tobago last month.
The other Jamaican on the senior panel is Chris Taylor.
"I'm not surprised by my selection to participate in the programme," stated Smith, who departs the region in May.
"There are 12 of us on the senior panel, and seven had already gone, so I was thinking my time was close."
Currently a teacher at Old Harbour High, and originally from Manchester, Smith, a past student of Glenmuir and deCarteret College, also expressed readiness for the challenges that the visit to England might bring.
"The opportunity to officiate in England is a good one," the Steve Bucknor admirer explained.
"We read and practice the laws of the game, but there are some things you can only get from experience.
"This includes officiating in different conditions such as weather and pitch, different type of players, and talk to other practitioners of the game."
Smith will be one of two umpires to participate in the UEP this year with the other being Trinidad and Tobago's umpire Zahid Bassarath.
The latter is scheduled to officiate in the Bangladesh first-class league, starting next week.