Dubai:Experienced umpire Mark Benson has retired from ICC's Emirates Elite Panel on health ground and is set to take up a contract with the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) to officiate in county circuit.
Benson, who umpired 27 Tests, 72 ODIs and 19 T20Is since 2006, was shortlisted for Umpire of the Year at the ICC Awards in 2007 and 2008. He also stood in the final of the inaugural ICC World Twenty20 final in Johannesburg.
Benson's contract was due to expire by the end of June but he requested to be released three months early so that he could take up a contract with the ECB.
"I have enjoyed my time on the elite panel immensely. The opportunity to be part of the global game has given me memories that I will always treasure. But travel and being away from home takes its toll on the family and some warning bells have started to ring regarding my health," said Benson.
"So, having thought about it carefully, I feel now is the right time for me to step down and move to a more settled and familiar environment in England.
"I also want to thank the ECB for giving me the opportunity to be part of the county circuit again. I'm looking forward to the new season as much as I did when I played, and hope that I can add value with my international experience as an ICC elite umpire," he added.
Benson blemish-free umpiring career was marred during the Sydney Test between Australia and India in January 2008 where he was criticised for some umpiring decisions, which went against India.