Devdas Govindjee, also known as Dev Govindjee is an official Cricket Match Referee. Dev was appointed in the year 2009 in the ICC Regional panel of Match Referees, since then, he has been enjoying this role and recently grabbed an opportunity to work with Indian Premier League and Caribbean Premier League. In the Interview with Global Cricket Community, Dev takes us through his childhood years and tells us about his motivation. His family has been very supportive and his dad introduced him to Cricket. Dev started off his journey as a Cricket Player. He then ventured into TV Cricket Commentary and did an equal justice to this new role. Later, in the year 2005 Dev was appointed at the panel of Match Referees for Cricket South Africa which gave his Cricket knowledge an entirely new perspective. Dev has been a great contributor to the World Cricket and continues to inspire folks around the World. Global Cricket Community would like to wish you all the luck on future endeavours.
1. Tell us about your first experience with Cricket? What age did you get in contact with the game?
My experience with cricket goes back to my earliest childhood memories- in our home in Port Elizabeth, South Africa my father ( born in Port Elizabeth but of Indian origin ) played the game at club and also provincial level and was also a keen tennis player. - my mother (born in Gujarat India) was also a keen follower of many sports. So I was born into a family keen on Sport.
2. Did you ever think of becoming a Referee? How did you get into this role?
I do not think anybody in the modern era would have grown up thinking of becoming a Cricket Match Referee as the concept is a relatively new one in the world of cricket. In my case an even more far-fetched idea as I was born into an Apartheid-era South Africa where our opportunities were severely restricted in every facet of our lives. I got into the role by applying to Cricket South Africa based on my involvement in the game both as player and administrator over many years.
3. Who was the inspiration in Cricket in your growing years?
I was naturally brought into contact with the game by my parents who would take our family ( my three sisters and I) along to club matches over weekends. In terms of world inspiration I was a sports fanatic who followed every conceivable code of sport as a youngster and had many cricketing heroes such as Garfield Sobers, Bishen Bedi ( being a left-arm spinner of course), Neil Harvey , Sir Viv Richards, Basil D’Oliveira, to name a few
4. Describe your experience as a Referee at Cricket South Africa?
My appointment to the panel of Match Referees for Cricket South Africa came about during the 2005-2006 season after my stint as Cricket Commentator on TV ended and I was looking for a new challenge – the experience has been an amazing one as I, for the first time, got to know the game from a totally new perspective. Dealing with umpires, players, coaches and team management brought about a holistic approach to the many facets of this wonderful game. Managing people certainly became a priority and the skills needed to do this effectively had to be refined.
5. What is most challenging thing about your Role as a Cricket Referee?
I quickly realised that the “us vs them” scenario had to change- the game of cricket was not about officials ( umpires in particular) vs players- there had to be a synergy developed and a common understanding that mutual respect would make the game bigger than the individual. I have used this as the focal point of all my dealings since then. Preserving the “Spirit of the Game” is my priority and remains the biggest challenge- the ethos of the game has to be understood, appreciated and respected.
6. How do you view your influence on youngsters / colleagues and whose success have you enjoyed the most?
The Match Referee as well as all officials have a responsibility to promote the game at every opportunity – each young boy or girl anywhere in the world needs to learn to love what is good about the game and what it has to offer as part of the total development of the individual. The manner in which you treat colleagues is a reflection of yourself and it is essential that your actions are always taken with dignity and mutual respect.
7. Describe your recent achievements/activities that you had?
Since my appointment to the ICC Regional panel of Match Referees in 2009 I have enjoyed many special moments- the most recent highlights probably officiating at 3 IPL events as well as the 2015 Caribbean Premier League (CPL) I love all the regional tournaments as well and it is such a privilege to see what talent there is on offer from countries that many people around the world do not even know play the game!
8. Who Should opt for a Cricket Referee's role?
A very difficult question as I think the game needs to be played at the highest level first in order to be able to understand the finer nuances of all that ultimately does form a part of your job description. You can train to become an umpire – in the case of a Match Referee this will be determined by many factors in your personal growth as well as knowledge of the game and then you shall be identified as being suitable to carry out the expected duties.
9. A mentor / coach who has played a valuable role in your grooming and whom you would like to dedicate your achievements and successes?
I have worked and learnt from many fine individuals since taking on this role – to name any would be an injustice to those not mentioned. So I dedicate my development and successes to all those at CSA and at the ICC who believed in me and then took me into their care to nurture me and mould me as well as guide me to where I am today- these are people who made my initial appointments and others who served as administrators and then ultimately the umpires and fellow match referees with whom I have built up such wonderful working relationships.
10. An Associate or an Affiliate Cricket Nation whose Cricket you have enjoyed the most and why?
Will not single out any particular nation- having been privileged to have watched teams from A-Z (Afghanistan to Zambia) play the game, I always get a thrill from the participation and achievements of all Associate and Affiliate countries - I have now had the pleasure & privilege to officiate matches involving countries such as Rwanda, Uganda, Botswana, The Gambia, Tanzania, Suriname, Fiji, Vanuatu, Italy, Netherlands, Scotland, Ireland, Germany, Bermuda, Bahamas, Seychelles, Swaziland, Ghana, Nigeria, USA, Cayman Islands, Namibia, Kenya, Canada, England, India, Pakistan, Australia, Hong Kong, UAE, Oman, Nepal as well as Women’s teams from Thailand, Japan, Zimbabwe, Canada, England, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Ireland, Netherlands etc play the game? ( probable that I left out a few others !!) So no matter which series or tournament I am involved in– the mere sight of cricket being played brings a thrill to me.
11. Take us through a match / series which you have enjoyed the most personally and is still fresh in your heart.
There are far too many matches that I have now done at International matches so really cannot single out any match or series- many wonderful contests are fought out at all levels on the World Cricket League and the Intercontinental Cup matches as well as at World Cup Qualifiers or Under 19 events.
12. In the Global Scenario, Which are the areas in Cricket that needs utmost and prime attention today?
The world of cricket is growing all the time but my attention will fall on the clubs around the world- they provide the enjoyment for the cricketer who aspires to play Provincial/State matches and it is essential that clubs are supported and kept alive. Belonging to a Club should regain the stature it once held to a cricketer.
13. One message that you would like to convey to all the Cricket developing (Associate and Affiliate) Countries?
The message will be a simple one : Play the game well and strive to reach your goals .With the growth in popularity of the game globally there is so much passionate support in emerging countries.
14. Your take on Women's Cricket and how has it helped the entire Cricket ecosystem?
The interest in and growth of women’s Cricket is exciting – it is certainly wonderful for the game as it brings the family into the sport and this can only have long term benefits for the future of Cricket.
15. Your advice to the youngsters taking up Cricket as a career?
Cricket offers much for those wishing to take on the sport- It offers lessons in life – be it as a player, match official, curator, scorer, video analyst, medical support staff, fitness trainers etc Passion for the game and all that it offers has to go alongside hard work and commitment.
16. Your views on Global Cricket Community?
Spreading the news of Cricket is essential and stories of individuals promoting the game in the far reaches of our universe has to be shared- well done on this initiative . Each person involved in the game at whatever level has to be acknowledged.