Lak­shmi first woman in ICC ref­er­ees’ panel

Hindustan Times (Patiala) - - Sport - Khur­ram Habib khur­[email protected] n

GS Lak­shmi, who on Tues­day be­came the first woman to be in­cluded in ICC’s in­ter­na­tional panel of match ref­er­ees, feels her elevation is a step for­ward for women’s cricket.

It comes on the heels of Aus­tralia’s Claire Polosak, who be­came the first woman to stand in a men’s ODI this month.

Lak­shmi, who was part of the In­dia squad which toured Eng­land in 1999 but didn’t get to play, was among the five who were short­listed from the more than 100 women who took the match of­fi­cials’ test held un­der the su­per­vi­sion of for­mer ICC Elite Panel um­pire Si­mon Taufel in 2014.

“I have been a ref­eree in women’s do­mes­tic cricket since 2008 (when BCCI be­gan post­ing women) and was sort of ex­pect­ing this pro­mo­tion. How­ever, I didn’t know it would come so soon. It is yet to sink in,” said Lak­shmi, 51, who played for Bi­har, East Zone, Andhra and South Zone, from 1986 to 2004.

Em­ployed with South Cen­tral Rail­way since 1989, the Hy­der­abad-based Lak­shmi had con­tin­ued play­ing as a mother. “My mother would take care of my daugh­ter while I was away play­ing. A lot of credit must go to her for en­sur­ing I con­tin­ued with cricket as a ca­reer.”

Her ca­reer be­gan with Bi­har. She then shifted to Hy­der­abad, play­ing for South Cen­tral Rail­way and Andhra. Her ap­point­ment means women’s matches, which ei­ther had male ref­er­ees for tour­na­ments like World Cup or women as match man­agers who re­ported to male ref­eree Graeme Labrooy, will now have a women’s match ref­eree.

She should also be able to of­fi­ci­ate in men’s in­ter­na­tion­als though there has been no com­mu­ni­ca­tion yet on the mat­ter.

‘IT’LL BE DIF­FER­ENT’

“I have not re­ceived de­tails as yet re­gard­ing the matches I’ll do,” said Lak­shmi, who has of­fi­ci­ated in over 100 matches, in­clud­ing in U-16 and U-19 boys’ matches.

“Since 2014, we (the short­listed five) have been of­fi­ci­at­ing as match man­agers (in bi­lat­eral se­ries) re­port­ing to Labrooy. Now that we have a match ref­eree, it will be dif­fer­ent,” she said.

Un­til now, for­mer In­dia pacer, Jav­a­gal Sri­nath, had been In­dia’s lone mem­ber in ICC’s in­ter­na­tional panel of match ref­er­ees, whose strength now goes up to eight.

ICC

GS Lak­shmi.

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