What Do You Call a Referee in Cricket?

Discover the crucial role of umpires in cricket matches and how their decisions can shape the game. Learn about controversial umpiring decisions and the impact of technology on officiating.


Cricket, often referred to as the gentleman’s game, is a sport that comes with its own set of rules and regulations. One essential aspect of the game is the presence of referees who ensure fair play and adherence to the laws of the game. But what exactly do you call a referee in cricket?

Umpire vs. Referee

In cricket, the on-field officials responsible for making decisions regarding the game are called umpires, not referees. Umpires play a crucial role in overseeing the match, enforcing the rules, and maintaining the spirit of the game.

Roles of Umpires

  • Decision-making: Umpires are responsible for making all decisions regarding the game, including dismissals, no-balls, wides, and run-outs.
  • Enforcing the rules: Umpires ensure that both teams abide by the laws of the game and penalize any infractions accordingly.
  • Keeping the game moving: Umpires maintain the pace of the game by controlling the players, setting fielding positions, and overseeing the match proceedings.

Examples of Umpiring Decisions

Umpires are often faced with challenging decisions that can impact the outcome of a match. For example, deciding whether a batsman is out lbw (leg before wicket), judging the legality of a bowler’s delivery, or determining if a catch has been taken cleanly.

Case Study: Controversial Umpiring Decisions

In cricket history, there have been several instances of controversial umpiring decisions that sparked debate and outrage among players and fans. One notable example is the ‘Bodyline’ series between England and Australia in 1932-33, where aggressive bowling tactics led to accusations of poor umpiring.

Statistics and Umpiring Performance

Umpires undergo rigorous training and assessment to ensure consistent and accurate decision-making. In recent years, technology such as Hawk-Eye, Snickometer, and Hot Spot has been introduced to aid umpires in making better calls during matches.


Although they may not be called referees, umpires play a vital role in maintaining the integrity and fairness of cricket matches. Their decisions can have a significant impact on the game, making their role indispensable in the world of cricket.

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