Clyde Cumberbatch

Clyde Cumberbatch

Umpire Clyde Cumberbatch, right, with fellow umpire Lloyd Barker of Barbados. A fast bowler turned cricket umpire from Trinidad. Read about his career as a cricketer turned umpire.
Growing up, I remember seeing Cricket Umpire Clyde Cumberbatch on the television. So I knew back then that there was another Cumberbatch out there. By Bob Cumberbatch

It was fun playing in the Savannah. I held my own as a fast bowler, but my colleagues felt that umpiring would be my biggest contribution to the cricket.

BY NAZ YACOOB [Trindad Guardian]
Built in the mould of a Hollywood actor — tall and elegant — retired regional and international cricket umpire Clyde Cumberbatch still possesses a repertoire of showmanship that has warmed the hearts of many past and present followers of the game.

Born in 1936, the “Clark Gable” of the umpiring fraternity, Cumberbatch has won accolades throughout the region during his career which lasted over three decades.

Clyde Cumberbatch's Best Moment

“Commers,” as he is affectionately called by the young and old enthusiasts, told the Arena that his best moment in cricket was in 1979, when he stood in his first regional match at Queen’s Park Oval, between TnT [Trinidad and Tobago] and Guyana.

Clyde Cumberbatch to Officiate Trinidad vs Guyana 1979

He said that the captains — Stephen Camacho of Guyana and Dudnath Ramkessoon of TnT [Trinidad and Tobago] — went on after their playing days were over and with his blessing became top cricket administrators. “Camacho went on to be the Chief Executive Officer of the West Indies Cricket Board and Ramkessoon is the current first vice-president of the TnT [Trinidad and Tobago] Cricket Board,” Cumberbatch noted.

Clyde Cumberbatch's First Test Match

Cumberbatch said his first Test match as an umpire was in 1981, when England played the West Indies at Queen’s Park Oval.

Clyde Cumberbatch Umpire of 1st and 5th Test
It was a tension-packed atmosphere, because it was held during an apartheid demonstration. Someone dug up the pitch, and a tap was left open which left parts of the outfield waterlogged. But myself and my colleague Douglas Sang Hue held our nerves and started the match at 1.45 pm

Cumberbatch told the Arena.

A well-spoken and affable individual, Cumberbatch said he got into umpiring with the urging of his teammates and other colleagues while participating in the Bonanza Cricket League and the Castillo Sunday Morning League.

Cumberbatch said he played alongside well-known cricketers including Ron Faria, Dennis de Souza, Lowe Sieunarine, Stanley Stuart, Peter Whiteman, Churchill Bissoon, Syd Jackbir.

“It was fun playing in the Savannah. I held my own as a fast bowler, but my colleagues felt that umpiring would be my biggest contribution to the cricket,” Cumberbatch said. He added that he was often asked by his captain to assist in the umpiring and he accepted the offer, because it appeared to them that I was fair in my decision and never favoured any team.

“Doing a match at the Savannah, I made a not out decision for a leg before appeal, much to the satisfaction of the teams and spectators who included Ken Oxley of Maple. At the end of the game, I was asked to take up umpiring full-time. I contacted Bertie Jacelon and did my courses. I have not regretted since,” Cumberbatch said.

He stated that his first match as an umpire after passing his preliminary exams was between Maple and Sporting Club on the Savannah. “At the conclusion of the match, I won kudos from Ollie Corbie, Sonny Thompson, Ken Oxley and Andy Ganteaume. I feel elated and proud,” Cumberbatch stated.

Cumberbatch said that over the years he has earned the respect of several top players including Clive Lloyd, Michael Holding, Gordon Greenidge, Sheldon Gomes, Larry Gomes, Ramkessoon, Bryan Davis, Ian Botham, David Gower, Peter Willey and John Emburey.

He said that umpiring in the region is comparable with any other place in the world, but unfortunately the exposure is not as good as in England, Australia and South Africa — all of whom have competition on a professional basis.

“I must add that if given more exposure in regional cricket by having more tournaments, the upcoming and budding umpires certainly will perform exceedingly well under any circumstances,” Cumberbatch said.

He said that there are umpires in TnT [Trinidad and Tobago] who have done extremey well over the years. Cumberbatch said that they are knowledgeable with the laws of the game and apply what they know with purpose and conviction. "The younger umpires who are participating in the Carib National Cricket League must be used and must be given all the necessary exposure to move up the ladder,” Cumberbatch advised.

Cumberbatch, who has held several key positions within the TnT [Trinidad and Tobago] Cricket Umpires Council and the West Indies Cricket Umpires Association, said that in each zone of the TnTCB [Trinidad and Tobago Cricket Board], there are several young and intelligent umpires who can blossom into regional standards within a few years, given the right guidance.

Speaking about West Indies cricket, Cumberbatch said that the sport in the region looks set to reach back to the top of the ladder if the young and talented players are guided properly. “Accept the guidance that are given to them, with all the technological advantage that are available at their hands, and surely they will bring glory back again to the region. Adopt the attitude to great true West Indies players for the future,” Cumberbatch said.

He paid glowing tribute to his family members for the support they have given him throughout his umpiring career — especially his wife Zoyla, children Robert and Camille and grandson Jason.

Cumberbatch said his parents who are now deceased, his brothers and sisters have also been supportive during his career, and he is very thankful to them.


  • Test matches 12
  • One-Day Internationals 25
  • First Class matches 62

A respected umpire, says former West Indies greats, including Clive Lloyd, Michael Holding, Gordon Greenidge , Larry Gomes and Bryan Davis, and also former West Indies youth captain Dudnath Ramkessoon and England Test greats Ian Botham, David Gower, Peter Willey and John Emburey.

[Sources: The Trinidad Guardian Wednesday 2nd March, 2005 Visited: 2 Oct 2011
Newspaper Cuttings from Trinidad Newspaper Clippings Database]