New Delhi: Piloo Reporter, one of the first neutral umpires in the history of international cricket, passed away on Sunday in Mumbai.
The 84-year-old Reporter was suffering from Cerebral Contusion disease and was being taken care of at his home by his wife and two daughters.
The 1992 World Cup, which was played in Australia and New Zealand, was one of the tournaments apart from 14 Test matches and 22 ODIs that Reporter officiated in. Reporter, the sole Indian umpire in the 1992 World Cup, was known for his nimble signalling of a boundary.
The 1986 Test match played between Pakistan and West Indies at Lahore was a bigger occasion for Reporter -- it was the first instance for a ‘neutral’ umpire in international cricket. He along with fellow Indian V K Ramaswamy officiated in that match.
Imran Khan, the captain of Pakistan, suggested the change to allay concerns about the perceived bias of the home umpires.
The ICC experimented with one neutral umpire in Test cricket in 1992 before formalising it two years later. Reporter first umpired in Delhi in 1984, during England's tour of India. He was always vocal and never felt overwhelmed in confronting big names in cricket like Malcolm Marshall, Viv Richards, and Imran Khan.
In an interview given to Mid-Day in 1987, he said, "Umpiring is a job very much like policing traffic. The traffic must move, as also the game."