Photo Credit: SA20 League
Rising umpire, ‘Babs’ Gcuma, to officiate in The Hundred as part of exchange
Cricket South Africa (CSA) and Betway SA20 umpire, Lubabalo ‘Babs’ Gcuma, is the first recipient of the newly launched Umpire Exchange Programme between the League and the England and Wales Cricket Board’s (ECB), The Hundred. The programme will give rising umpires in both countries the opportunity to experience new environments to further develop and expand their careers.
Betway SA20 has committed to raising all levels of the game in South Africa, in line with CSA’s long-standing umpire exchange programmes with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), Cricket Australia (CA) and New Zealand Cricket (NZC).
Gcuma is one of the most promising and respected umpires in South Africa, having begun his career in 2002 after retiring as a first-class cricketer. He rapidly rose through the domestic levels, and was rewarded with his promotion to CSA’s National First-Class Panel of Umpires in 2014.
He has since reached the highest level of the game after recently being elevated to the ICC’s International Panel of Umpires.
“This is a huge moment of my career, I would like to thank the League and the ECB for providing me with this opportunity. I will be rubbing shoulders with other good umpires from England, and the global profile of the tournament is a feather in my career cap,” Gcuma, who was recently nominated for CSA Umpire and Umpire’s Umpire of the Year at the annual awards said.
“Umpiring in the inaugural season of Betway SA20 was the highlight of my career.
To go from Covid and lockdown where there were no fans in the stadiums to having full houses was amazing. It was an exciting event to be part of and to have the younger audiences coming to watch cricket only put our game and the country in good stead for the future. I look forward to being part of Season 2.”
The 47-year-old will officiate in 4 matches during the upcoming The Hundred season, which gets underway at Trent Bridge in Nottingham on 1 August.
“We have a rich history of excellent umpires in South Africa and want that trend to continue – one only has to look at Marais Erasmus (multiple ICC Umpire of the Year award winner) and recent ICC Elite Panel addition Adrian Holdstock (current CSA Umpire of the Year and Umpire’s Umpire of the year),” said Betway SA20 Head of Cricket Operations, Stephen Cook.
“It is a great opportunity for ‘Babs’ to be exposed to different players and conditions at The Hundred. There are some differences in the rules and regulations in The Hundred which will be something new for him to learn and adapt to. Hopefully, he will come back with many new experiences both on and off the park. Thank you to the ECB’S Richard Glynn-Jones and Hamish Grant for helping us get this initiative off the ground and facilitating the logistics.”
The unique umpire exchange programme between Betway SA20 and The Hundred will also see an English umpire visit South Africa next January in reciprocal fashion.
ECB Head of Officiating, Richard Glynn-Jones said: “We’re really excited about this Umpire Exchange Programme with the Betway SA20. Umpires can really benefit from developmental experiences, and it will be important and instructive for both Lubabalo Gcuma and the English umpire who travels to South Africa to experience new environments. We’re very pleased to have worked alongside Betway SA20 and CSA on this programme and we’re sure it will benefit both officials and officiating in both countries.”