In a significant first for world cricket, the International Cricket Council (ICC) on January 27 named an all-women panel of match officials, including the Indian trio of G.S. Lakshmi, Vrinda Rathi, and Janani Narayanan, for the upcoming Women's T20 World Cup in South Africa.
Three match referees and 10 umpires make up the 13-woman team in what is a landmark moment, and is part of the ICC’s strategic ambition of advancing the involvement and visibility of women in cricket.
The panel includes seven first-timers. The announcement comes after different sporting events have witnessed a constant rise in the number of women officiating tournaments.
Ms. Rathi and Ms. Janani, who had earlier this month became the first women umpires to officiate in the prestigious Ranji Trophy, will be umpiring at a T20 World Cup for the first time.
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ICC general manager, cricket, Wasim Khan, said: "Women’s cricket has been growing rapidly in recent years and as part of that we have been building the pathways to ensure more women have the opportunity to officiate at the highest level.
“This announcement is a reflection of our intent in this space and just the start of our journey where men and women enjoy the same opportunities across our sport. We are committed to continuing to support our female match officials and provide opportunities to showcase their talents on the global stage."
Other panel members
Eight women officials each were involved in the Women’s T20 World Cup 2020 and the Women’s Cricket World Cup last year, while nine women have been involved in the ongoing ICC Under-19 Women’s T20 World Cup in South Africa.
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Claire Polosak is the most experienced of the umpires. She continues her record of officiating in every Women’s World Cup, T20and ODI, since 2016. The 34-year-old Australian will be officiating in her fourth T20 World Cup, while Sue Redfern of England, Jacqueline Williams of the West Indies, and Kim Cotton of New Zealand will be involved in their third Women’s T20 World Cups.
Lauren Agenbag will get the chance to umpire at a World Cup on home soil with the South African selected for her second T20 World Cup with match referee Shandre Fritz to oversee games in her home country at her debut T20 World Cup.
Meanwhile, Michell Pereira of Sri Lanka will take charge of her first-ever T20I at the 2023 World Cup which gets underway on February 10 as the hosts South Africa take on Sri Lanka in Cape Town.
England’s Anna Harris is the youngest of the umpires at just 24 year, as she makes her debut at a major ICC event.
Full list of Match Referees: G.S. Lakshmi (India), Shandre Fritz (South Africa), Michell Pereira (Sri Lanka) Umpires: Sue Redfern (England), Eloise Sheridan (Australia), Claire Polosak (Australia), Jacqueline Williams (West Indies), Kim Cotton (New Zealand), Lauren Agenbag (South Africa), Anna Harris (England), Vrinda Rathi (India), N Janani (India), Nimali Perera (Sri Lanka).