The International Cricket Council (ICC) has appointed India’s GS Lakshmi as their first female member of the International Panel of Match Referees. Following close on the the heels of Claire Polosak, who earlier this month became the first ever woman umpire to stand in a men’s ODI, ICC stated that Lakshmi will be eligible to referee international games with immediate effect.
Australia’s Eloise Sheridan was also added on the ICC Development Panel of Umpires, taking the number of women on that panel to eight. “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,” said Adrian Griffith, ICC Senior Manager - Umpires and Referees.
He further added, “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.”
Lakshmi, who first officiated as a match referee in domestic women’s cricket in 2008-09, 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,” said Lakshmi.
The 51-year-old thanked ICC, officials at the BCCI, her seniors in the cricketing circuit, her family and colleagues who have supported her over the years.