Former India cricketer GS Lakshmi became the first female match referee to be inducted into the International Cricket Council (ICC)'s International Panel of Match Referees. Lakshmi, 51, officiated her first match in women's domestic cricket in 2008-2009, and has supervised 3 women's One Day Internationals, and 3 T20 Internationals. Subsequently, following Australian Claire Polosak, who became the first female umpire to officiate a men's ODI on April 27 between Oman and Namibia, GS Lakshmi will become eligible to referee international matches with immediate effect.
"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.
"I would like to take this opportunity to thank the ICC, officials at the BCCI (Board of Control for Cricket in India), 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," GS Lakshmi was quoted as saying in an ICC Media Release.
In the meantime, Australian umpire Eloise Sheridan joined Claire Polosak in the ICC Development Panel of Umpires. This takes the number of women in that panel to 8.
Adrian Griffith, ICC Senior Manager - Umpires and Referees, said that, "We welcome (GS) Lakshmi and Eloise (Sheridan) 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.
"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."