India’s GS Lakshmi, Former Indian Cricketer Becomes First Female ICC Match Referee

Former India women cricketer GS Lakshmi, on Tuesday has been appointed to the ICC International Panel of Match Referees as the first female ICC Match Referee. The 51-year-old cricketer, who was officiated as a match referee in domesticwomen’s cricket in the year 2008-09, has overseen three women’s ODI matches and manywomen’s T20 games.

“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 said.

“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.

Following close on the heels of Claire Polosak, who became the first women umpire earlier this month and to stand in a men’s ODI, Lakshmi will be qualified to refereeinternational games immediately. Australia’s Eloise Sheridan has now joined the compatriot Polosak on the ICC Development Panel of Umpires. The number of women on that panelhas been increased to an unprecedented eight. Sheridan has been the reserved umpire for a couple of matches in the Men’s Big Bash League 2018-19. She has also umpired for four matches in the Women’s Big Bash League that year. In October 2018, she turned to be the first women in Australia to umpire a men’s first-grade Premier Cricket final.

“As a cricket player, I have traveled, met wonderful people and shared a mutual love for the game. It is great now to be able to continue my involvement in cricket in a different role and give something back to the game that has been such a big part of my life. I couldnot take up opportunities like this without the support of the South Australian Cricket Association and Cricket Australia, and also my understanding partner,” Sheridan said.

Lauren Agenbag, Kim Cotton, Shivani Mishra, Sue Redfern, Mary Waldron, and Jacqueline Williams werethe other womenin the panel. The first everwomen on the ICC Development Panel of Umpires was Kathy Cross, who got retired a year ago.

In the meantime, Adrian Griffith, ICC Senior Manager – Umpires and Referees stated that, “We welcome Lakshmi and Eloise to our panels, which is the most important step ahead in our commitment to encouraging women officials. It is also heartening to see their progress and I am also sure that many more women will be inspired and follow then as an example. I wish them all the best for a long and enjoyable career.”

“We are committed to ensuring greater gender parity among our officials, but all appointments are made purely on merit. The 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 consistently high performance we are able to add more women to our panels,” Griffith added.