London: Pakistan's Asad Rauf, who is being investigated in the IPL spot-fixing scandal, and long-serving New Zealander Billy Bowden were on Tuesday dropped from the ICC Elite Panel of Umpires after an annual review of their performance.
Rauf, who is being probed for allegedly taking expensive gifts from suspected bookies, and Bowden have been replaced by former Test cricketers Richard Illingworth and Paul Reiffel.
"The selection panel considered the overall performances of the umpires over the past 12 months when deciding which umpires would be offered contracts for 2013-14. In Asad's case, it is important to emphasise that the recent speculation linking his name to the IPL spot-fixing investigation was not considered during the selectors' deliberations," said Geoff Allardice, Chairman of the ICC Umpires Selection Panel.
Rauf, who has denied any wrongdoing, was earlier withdrawn from officiating in the just-concluded ICC Champions Trophy here.
"It is exciting to see Richard and Paul promoted to the elite panel, but it is also important to acknowledge and appreciate the outstanding contributions of Asad and Billy over a long period of time," said Allardice.
Illingworth and Reiffel have joined Aleem Dar, Kumar Dharmasena, Steve Davis, Marais Erasmus, Ian Gould, Tony Hill, Richard Kettleborough, Nigel Llong, Bruce Oxenford and Rod Tucker in the panel for the 2013-2014 season, commencing July 1, 2013.
Illingworth has been umpiring in international cricket since July 2010 and has so far stood in four Tests, 16 One-Day Internationals and seven Twenty20 Internationals.
Reiffel, who made his international umpiring debut in January 2009, has officiated in four Tests, 30 One-Day Internationals and nine Twenty20 Internationals. The Emirates Elite Panel of ICC Umpires was selected by the ICC Umpires Selection Panel consisting of Chairman, Allardice, ICC's General Manager (Cricket), ICC Chief Match Referee Ranjan Madugalle, ex-England player and coach and umpire, David Lloyd, and Srinivas Venkataraghavan, the former India captain and international umpire.
Bowden was included in the elite panel in 2003 and umpired in 75 Tests, 181 One-Day Internationals and 19 Twenty20 Internationals.
Rauf stood in 47 Tests, 98 One-Day Internationals and 23 Twenty20 Internationals and was a member of the elite panel since 2006.