ICC appoints GS Lakshmi as first female match referee on international panel
The International Cricket Council has appointed former Railways cricketer GS Lakshmi as the first-ever female match referee on the ICC International Panel of Match Referees. Lakshmi first officiated in domestic women's cricket in 2008-09 and has overseen three women's ODIs and as many T20Is.
During her tenure with Railways, the most successful team in Indian women’s cricket domain, GS Lakshmi played alongside former Indian captain Diana Edulji and current national chief selector for the women’s team Hemlata Kala. Although she could never play for India, she was a part of the national squad during India's tour of England in 1999.
In 2008, when the BCCI introduced female referees for the women's domestic games, Lakshmi was among the five female referees to make their debut that season, the other four being former India cricketers Rajani Venugopal, Rajesh Nayyar, Nilima Joglekar and Gargi Banerjee. Now, Lakshmi broke new grounds as she has become the first ever woman to be appointed to the ICC International Panel of Match Referees. This has come after Claire Polosak becoming the first ever woman umpire to stand in a men's ODI.
"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 by Cricbuzz.
"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."
In another major appointment coming from ICC boardroom, Australia's Eloise Sheridan has joined Polosak on the ICC Development Panel of Umpires, taking the number of women on that panel to eight. Lauren Agenbag, Kim Cotton, Shivani Mishra, Sue Redfern, Mary Waldron and Jacqueline Williams are the other women officials on that panel.