To Judah Reuben goes the credit of performing a “hat trick” at the Eden Gardens, in the sense that he has umpired the last three Tests that have ‘been played, in Calcutta. Judah Reuben, who is a fingerprint expert and attached to the office of the DIG, CID Crime and Railways of the Maharashtra State Police. Poona, took to umpiring in 1949 when he passed the Cricket Umpires’ Examination conducted by the Maharashtra State Cricket Association; Poona’ and was placed on the panel of umpires.
He later passed the examination conducted by the Bombay Cricket Association and was subsequently recommended as a candidate for the All India Umpires examination which he got through with flying colors in 1960. He was promoted to the All India Panel of Umpires the following year. From then on, he has acquired varied experience, having umpired no less than 41 Ranji Trophy matches, four Duleep Trophy matches in addition to two Irani Cup, six Tests, and one unofficial Test against Ceylon.
In fact, the matches he has umpired make an imposing list. Perhaps the high standard he has reached in his umpiring can be partly attributed to the fact that in his youth, he was an enthusiastic player, having turned out for his school and later for Fergusson College, Poona as a wicketkeeper-batsman. It certainly pays to have had first-hand experience of playing cricket!
Reuben is, at the moment, the only Maharashtra State government employee who is on the Cri-Control Board’s panel. Infused with a desire to improve the standards of Indian umpiring. He is now busy conducting umpiring classes and demonstrations on the experimental laws from time to time on behalf of the Board.
While talking to this writer on the last West Indian tour, manager Gerry Alexander said that umpiring in India was of a high standard. While he would not like to single out individuals, he thought that Indian umpires could easily vie with others and could be considered among the best in the world — a statement he seemed to have retracted by the end of the tour, by which time his Press utterances suggested that he had changed his mind.
It was Conard Hunte the well-known West Indies opener who approved of the idea of neutral umpires for Test matches in various countries. If such a thing should come to pass, then he thought that Indian umpires, with their flair for details, would stand a good chance of seeing the world at large.
Perhaps the Board could even work out a scheme whereby our umpires could be sent abroad to gain invaluable experience. One hopes that this would happen in Reuben’s lifetime. This tall, thin upright gentleman would be a fitting ambassador of India abroad.