Stranded at his ancestral village in Uttar Pradesh due to the nationwide lockdown, ICC international panel umpire Anil Choudhury is grappling with a communication nightmare and says he has to climb up trees in search of a mobile network.
Chaudhary, who has officiated in 20 ODIs and and 27 T20s, was supposed to officiate in the India-South Africa ODI series which was called off due to the coronavirus outbreak.
The 55-year-old then decided to visit his village, Dangrol in UP’s Shamli district, with his two sons.
“I’m here with my two sons since March 16. I was visiting the village after quite some time so I planned to stay for a week but then the lockdown was announced and now I’m following the directives, while my mother and wife are in Delhi,” Chaudhary told ‘PTI-Bhasha’.
“The biggest problem is the network here. I can’t talk to anyone or use the internet. To be able to do that I have to go outside the village, climb up a tree or go to the rooftop. Then also the network is not available all the time,” he said.
The umpire has also posted a few pictures of himself, trying to make a phone call while atop a tree, on social media.
Chaudhary said he needs internet to access ICC’s online programmes for umpires.
The absence of mobile and internet services in the village is also affecting his son’s studies as several educational institutes have resorted to online classes to finish the curriculum.
“One of my son studies in the Hindu College, his classes are going on but he is unable to attend them.”
Chaudhary says the mobile network problem is not a new issue. The village has been battling the issue for the past one year despite being less than 100km from Delhi.
“This network problem has been there for the past one year but because of the lockdown it is affecting studies. This village is only 85km away from Delhi,” he said.
According to Chaudhary, the village chief has written a letter to the district in-charge to complain about the matter.
“We sent a letter 10 days ago but we are yet to receive an answer,” he said.
Meanwhile, Chaudhary has taken the opportunity to educate people around him, explaining the concept of social-distancing and spreading awareness regarding the disease.
“I have asked people here not to gather around, avoid playing cards together, continuously wash their hands with soap.
“I have also distributed some masks to them and all of them are maintaining social distancing.”