Indian umpire creates history .... becomes first woman in ICC panel

Dubai, May 15: Woman umpire GS Lakshmi has bagged a piece of history for herself. She has become the first woman to be appointed to the elite international panel of match referees by the International Cricket Council (ICC).

She will now be eligible to officiate in international matches with immediate effect.

This development comes after Claire Polosak became the first ever woman umpire to officiate in a men's One-Day International (ODI) earlier this month.

The 51-year-old Lakshmi first officiated as a match referee in domestic women’s cricket during the 2008-09 season. She has overseen three women’s ODI matches and three women’s T20I matches.

“To be selected in the international panel by the ICC is a huge honour for me as it opens up new avenues. I have had a long career as a cricketer in India and also as a Match Referee. I hope to put my experience both as a player and as a match official to good use on the international circuit," Lakshmi was quoted as saying in an ICC statement.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank the ICC, officials at the BCCI, my seniors in the cricketing circuit, my family and colleagues who have supported me over the years. I hope to live up to their expectations by doing my job to the best of my ability,” she added.

Meanwhile, Australia’s Eloise Sheridan has joined compatriot Polosak on the ICC Development Panel of Umpires, taking the number of women on that panel to an unprecedented eight.

Lauren Agenbag, Kim Cotton, Shivani Mishra, Sue Redfern, Mary Waldron and Jacqueline Williams are the other women officials on that panel. The first woman on the ICC Development Panel of Umpires was Kathy Cross, who retired last year.

“We welcome Lakshmi and Eloise to our panels, which is an important step forward in our commitment to encouraging women officials. It is heartening to see their progress and I am sure many more women will be inspired to follow their example. I wish them all the best for a long and enjoyable career," ICC official Adrian Griffith said.

“We are committed to ensuring greater gender parity among our officials, but all appointments are made purely on merit. Elevation is as a result of a thorough evaluation process that identifies the most talented match officials breaking through to an international level.  It is pleasing that through consistent high performance we are able to add more women to our panels," he added.

News24 Bureau

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