Douglas Sang Hue: A Small Giant

Fri, Nov 24, '06

 

Sticky Wicket

(The Sticky Wicket West Indies Hall of Fame in Antigua launches its voting process to select two more persons to join the select group of legends to be named among "Cricket's Finest". Voting ends November 30, 2006).

While the West Indies was giving the world super star players in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, there was also a man in a white coat and black flannels who was setting standards in another area of the game. Douglas Sang Hue -- a small man in stature, but a big man on the field of cricket -- the well-loved umpire from Jamaica was a standard bearer on the international stage.

 

He is the first official to be nominated for the Sticky Wicket Hall of Fame. This is a tribute to his contribution to the game, his high level of professionalism on and off the field, and quality of his work in the middle.

In West Indies cricket, all umpires who have followed have been compared to Sang Hue.

He was one of the smallest men to step on a cricket field -- standing around five feet four inches, but when he was standing behind the stumps or at square leg he was a giant of a man. In 1973 Ian Chappell, the highly respected Australian captain rated him as the "best umpire in the world."

Sang Hue stood in all four of the five matches of the series and the Aussies were bowled over by the quality of officiating. When Australian billionaire Kerry Packer revolutionized the cricket world with World Series Cricket in the late 1970s he called up one non-Australian umpire. That man was Douglas Sang Hue -- a tribute to the quality of the man. When World Series Cricket came to the Caribbean a few months later, he was again called up to stand in all five Super Tests.

According to Andy Roberts, the West Indies fast bowling great, Sang Hue exuded confidence and players were always comfortable with him in the middle. "He was a small man, jockey-sized, but he stood his ground and took his place among men almost twice his size," Roberts said. "He always had the confidence and respect of the players. As a player you always want to feel that the umpire is competent. He was one of the first umpires I ever saw who would give a decision as soon as it happened."

Sang Hue's maxim was there was no reason to wait. He basically believed that as long as you made a decision it should be given. Sang Hue made his first appearance on the international stage in the fifth Test between West Indies and India at Sabina Park, Jamaica in April 1962 at age 30 -- which back then was quite young to be an international umpire. He stood in 31 Test matches, with his last game being the fifth Test between West Indies and England at Sabina in 1981. He stood in a single ODI, between the Windies and Pakistan at Sabina in 1988.

What Sang Hue did was change the face of umpiring and ensured West Indies had statesmen in all areas of the game. He set the standard for other who came after to follow.

* NOTE: If Douglas Sang Hue is selected to the Sticky Wicket Hall of Fame, he will join Sir Garfield Sobers, Sir Frank Worrell, Sir Everton Weekes, Sir Viv Richards, George Headley, Clive Lloyd, Courtney Walsh, Curtly Ambrose, Malcolm Marshall, Lance Gibbs, Andy Roberts, Michael Holding, Brian Lara, and Ridley Jacobs.