I was recently lucky enough to meet former Test umpire Ken Palmer and hear about the games he was in charge of. One common thread to his tales was that the best bowlers always knew how to work with the umpire.
Bowling is tough and I can imagine that sometimes you think the umpire is out to get you. Umpires don't cheat though. They just want to be fair. They much prefer a bowler who is prepared to work with them because it makes their job easier. The good news is that if you make their job easier, they tend to do the same for you.
Of course, the man in white is not going to cheat for you, but if he trusts and likes you then you may be able to gain a small advantage. Here are some ways you can do that:
Appealing only when you think it's out is a good general rule of thumb. Umpires soon get fed up with bowler's who appeal for everything, even when it's pitched outside leg stump.
If you do appeal and the umpire gives it not out you might get upset or want to grumble. Complaining get you nowhere though. Keep quiet and make a polite enquiry at the end of the over. The umpire doesn't have to justify himself, but the better ones will tell you briefly what they thought. You might even offer an explanation yourself to show you understand the umpires position.
It might seem obvious to say, but we can forget to be polite to umpires, especially in the heat of battle. However, taking a moment to say 'please or 'thank you' can go a long way with an umpire.
Also, no matter how poor you think an umpires decision making is, never try to get them into a discussion. Umpires are there to decide and once the decision is made there is no going back. The only thing arguing can bring is a penalty from an overly-officious umpire.
As you play more with certain umpires they will get to know your reputation. If you are a bowler who bowls a lot of no-ball the umpire will probably be extra aware of your front foot. If you bowl straight and from close the stumps he will know you are more likely to get LBW shouts.
If you know your strengths and weaknesses you know how much you can appeal based on the umpires view of you.
Really, it's just advanced common sense to do these things, but at the very least you will enjoy your cricket more if you are working with an umpire instead of against him.
image credit: bored@work