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Madugalle completes rare double

December 08, 2007 15:25 IST

Ranjan Madugalle made history in the third and final Test between India and Pakistan in Bangalore on Saturday when he became the first ICC match referee to complete a century of Tests.

With this, the 48-year-old became only the second match official, after umpire Steve Bucknor, to reach three figures in both forms on the game. Besides 100 Tests, Madugalle has officiated in 209 ODIs, thus completing a rare double.

Madugalle now leads West Indies' Clive Lloyd by a distance. Lloyd, a former West Indies captain, officiated in 53 Tests and 133 ODIs between November 1992 and February 2007.

As a player, Madugalle represented Sri Lanka in 21 Test matches and 65 ODIs between 1979 and 1989. He was captain from 1987 to 1989 and served in two spells as a national selector.

He was appointed to the match referees' panel in 1994 and became the first person to hold the position of Chief Match Referee in 2001, a post he still occupies.

He has officiated in two ODI World Cup finals, in 1999 and 2003, and is one of the most experienced and respected officials in the game.

"I feel happy and privileged that I have been able to officiate in 100 Tests," he said in an ICC press release.

"I am also happy that I have been able to discharge my duties in a professional way for the past few years. "The only goal I have always set for myself is to work and perform to the best of my ability and to keep enjoying what I do."

"It has been a fascinating experience graduating from being a player to being a match official and it has been great to work with different umpires, captains and everyone involved with this great game," Madugalle said.

"Ahead of every Test series in which I am involved, I try to follow the two teams on TV to get better understanding as to what the teams and its players do. I would then check out with the match officials who have done the recent series with those teams to see what has to be followed up to ensure consistency.

"Paper work is another aspect that one needs to go through thoroughly. Preparation is the key in any job and so it is with refereeing too," said Madugalle. 

Reflecting on the evolution of the referee's role, Madugalle said: "When I started refereeing, it was on an ad-hoc basis and I used to referee by taking leave from my employers. The role and the concept have changed significantly since then and it has now become a career.

"The pace of cricket has improved tremendously and so have the skill levels. Fitness and fielding are the two main aspects that have improved significantly over the last 20 years or so.

"It has been interesting and rewarding to see some of the best cricketers in action during the last decade in different conditions and also witness some excellent cricket.

"Even in my role as a referee, I watch it as a cricketer trying to learn as much as I can, marvel the skills of the players and see the plots and sub-plots develop in the game. And the best part is that I dont have to pay anything for it."

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