An advocate for respect, safety and equality among players and umpires, it’s not just about officiating a match for Todd, it’s about ensuring a safe and enjoyable environment.
“It’s a duty of care thing with me,” said Todd, whose passion for keeping the game clean is clear.
“You’re there to call a game, sure, but you’re also there to make sure people enjoy themselves and walk on safely and walk off safely as much as you can. You do your best to look after them to make sure they keep coming back.”
For 36 years, Todd has been championing safety, diffusing sledging and managing behaviour on the indoor cricket court.
“With indoor cricket, you’ve got 10 people within an enclosed net and you’ve got balls flying around and bodies colliding, so there have been occasions of name-calling, pushing, threats and so forth and that can happen…but it’s not cricket.” said Todd.
“You don’t need that rubbish in a match.”
Indoor Cricket Umpire Manager Todd recalls how, at 18 years old, Darren Lehmann set an example of the key values of the game during Todd’s early umpiring days.
“Darren Lehmann was working at a sports store and they entered an indoor cricket team, so he was playing for a low grade of C3,” Todd said.
“He was way (below) his league playing that (level) but he did it because he supported the sports store where he worked and they had put a team in. I mean, nice guy. He was on the cusp of the higher level, playing for the State and pushing towards playing for Australia at that stage and he was quite happy to stop and have a chat and he was never too big for his boots. His professionalism impressed me. Even back then, it was gold.”
After being involved in indoor cricket for much of his life, Todd thinks of his indoor cricketers and match officials much like a second family.
“You see some 12 and 13-year-old girls who don’t know which end of the bat to hold to start with, then you come back three months later and they’re batting the house down,” Todd said.
“It just makes me smile to see the rewards people are getting from the effort they are putting in. It’s the same with the umpires.
“In terms of the umpires, I like to work with centre management and give feedback to them regarding players and they give feedback to me – it becomes a circle, where everyone in their own way tries to keep it going and to keep it fun and safe.”
Todd believes the standard of indoor umpiring has improved significantly over the years and he is a big believer in treating all competitions equally, regardless of gender or level of play.
Being a volunteer, the reward for Todd has been the opportunity to witness some of the best cricket matches and indoor stars in action, stating that it’s the ‘little tokens’ that make it worthwhile.
“I’ll be honest and say I was a very low-level outdoor cricketer and a very low-level indoor cricketer,” said Todd.
“Through umpiring I’ve represented the country four times, I’ve done the nationals and the Super League, and you know, for me, I get to see the best indoor cricket available. To be able to interact with these up-and-coming stars, that’s the reward – that fantastic cricket that I never would have seen, had I not been an umpire.”
Despite his obvious dedication to volunteer work, Todd admits he was utterly astounded when his name was called for the national award.
“It was between myself and another gentleman…they called out my name and I thought ‘ah what!’”, recalls Todd.
“Everyone had prepared speeches and I had nothing! I was just floating.
“I’m not here for the big awards, that’s not what its about. It’s fantastic don’t get me wrong, but its not what you do this stuff for. You do it for the passion and pride and just wanting to help the game along.”