Claire Polosak to make historic umpiring debut

Reuters

Thu, Oct 05, 2017 - Page 16

Claire Polosak never played cricket and failed the umpires’ exam “a few times,” but is set to become the first woman to officiate an Australian men’s top-level fixture when New South Wales play a Cricket Australia XI in a one-day match on Sunday.

Polosak, a fixture in men’s club matches in Sydney, is to take the field with veteran umpire Paul Wilson at Hurstville Oval, where Australian pace bowler Mitchell Starc is also expected to feature for the Blues.

The 29-year-old, who also officiated four matches at the International Cricket Council Women’s Cricket World Cup in England earlier this year, said becoming a cricket umpire had been something she was just determined to do, despite having no experience playing the game.

“I never played cricket, which is a little bit interesting for some people,” she told reporters in Sydney yesterday, before adding that she had been encouraged into it by her parents.

“I always followed cricket, my parents got me into it and dad would drive me up from Goulburn to do the umpires course,” she added.

“It took a few times to pass, but it was something I was determined to do and I kept working through the grades in the Sydney competition,” Polosak said.

Polosak has been on Cricket Australia’s development umpire panel for the past two years and has previously been a third umpire in men’s domestic cricket.

Despite the expected rise in standard this weekend, Polosak said her preparations would not change for the occasion.

“There’s preparation, there’s playing conditions, learning the players, having a meeting with your teammate ... discuss what signals you’re going to be using, how you’re going to communicate,” Polosak said.

“Physically, it’s very similar stuff to a player: fitness, core strength, back and legs, because you’re standing up on the field for seven hours,” she added.

“I’ve got mental triggers so I’m able to watch every ball as you go, so you can settle into that,” Polosak said.