India’s Anil Chaudhary is one of the finest umpires in modern-day cricket included in the elite panel of the International Cricket Council (ICC).
Chaudhary has stood as an umpire in 20 ODIs and 27 T20Is thus far in his career. He made his first international appearance in a T20I match between India and Australia in 2013.
He was also a part of the 16-member umpiring team which officiated at the U19 World Cup of 2018 and 2020.
Chaudhary, who is a common face during India’s home matches, was also scheduled to referee the ODI series between India and South Africa, which was cancelled due to COVID-19.
However, his short trip back to the native village in Dangrol proved costly for Chaudhary. With the nationwide lockdown imposed, Chaudhary had to stay back in his village.
For months, Chaudhary had to deal with no network coverage. The 45-year-old umpire had to cross damp fields and climb a tree to receive a mobile network, if fortunate enough.
Moreover, his ordeal to remain in contact with ICC’s online program and loved ones in Delhi was short-lived as a telecom company contacted him for setting up a tower in the village.
“I never imagined this initiative would be so beneficial for our village. There is a professor from Jalandhar who is now able to take classes. Students are happy because now they do not have to sit in the fields, fight mosquitoes, and attend online classes,” Chaudhary told indianexpress.com.
A native villager, Ramkumar, who runs a small bank, used to struggle with the slow transactions which often took days. Now with the tower set up, transactions take place in a matter of hours.
“I would like to thank umpire Chaudhary for his initiative. He is a hero to us. Amidst the pandemic, this is a small issue, but it has helped us a long way. Our panchayat member Manish Chauhan and local MLA Tejinder Narwal spoke to Jio network who got the job done, and we all thank them for making life a lot easier for all of us here,” Ramkumar said.
“Now they are asking me to resolve all their other problems. But I told them I am only an umpire,” Chaudhary concluded on a jovial note.