The 2012 summer will be Martin Saggers’s first full season on the first-class umpires list. The former Kent, Durham and Essex seamer, who won three Test caps for England, joined the ECB’s reserve list in 2010 and after a couple of summers has now been elevated to the full list.
During the course of this summer Saggers will also be celebrating his 40th birthday – so are county umpires getting younger? If you take the average age of the 2012 officials and compare it, for example, with the age of the men in white coats forty years ago, the answer is no.
The average age of umpires back in the summer of 1972 was 51.2 years, compared with a figure of 52.5 years this coming season.
In fact, there were six umpires in 1972 under the age of 40 – Dickie Bird, David Constant, David Evans, Ray Julian, Ken Palmer and Alan Whitehead. But in addition to Martin Saggers, there are only two other umpires on the 2012 list under the age of 40 – Michael Gough and Richard Kettleborough.
A further six umpires standing in matches in 2012 will be in their forties, yet forty years ago there was just one umpire – Peter Wight – who was in this age bracket. So while there were more thirty-something umpires standing in games in 1972, there were less in their forties compared with the umpires for 2012.