Cricket buffs in India can add to their lexicon the phrase 'remote match referee'. This is a system in which the match referee isn't present at the venue but performs his duties as and when required after being contacted by the men on the playing field.
Former Bengal and East Zone captain Raju Mukherji is doing this at the moment, having been appointed remote match referee for the India versus West Indies women's ODI series, the first match of which was played in Mumbai on Monday.
Mukherji is doing a bit of multitasking too, doubling as match referee in the Ranji Trophy final between Baroda and Rajasthan, which started in Vadodara on Tuesday. There are no instances of any match referee doing this kind of simultaneous jobs in India in recent memory.
Mukherji was in Vadodara on Monday, receiving calls from Mumbai whenever something happened and addressed the issues over phone. He will be doing the same thing in course of the remaining four ODIs and three T20 Internationals, during and after the Ranji final.
Mukherji's appointment is in accordance with the International Cricket Council (ICC) rules. "Most women's Tests and ODIs, U-19 international matches and Associate/Affiliate international matches below ODI level use remote match referees," an ICC spokesman wrote in an email to Hindustan Times on Tuesday.
This responsibility is distributed among the six members of ICC's 'regional referees panel'.
Mukherji is one of two members from Asia, former Sri Lanka medium-pacer Graeme Labrooy being the other in the panel.
The ICC spokesman clarified that this doesn't stop Mukherji from being physically present and officiating in the Ranji final.
"It is normal for a remote referee to take charge of more than one match at the same time," he said.
Mukherji sounded amused by the idea. "I was a bit reluctant initially but accepted the offer finally," laughed the former batsman, speaking from Vadodara.
"There is someone designated as the match manager who is communicating with me in case of any problem. I am providing the answers based on ICC rules and guidelines spelt out."
A remote match referee's responsibilities include enforcing the ICC Code of Conduct for players and team officials and dealing with suspect bowling actions.