DUBAI: The number of women match officials across different International Cricket Council panels has gone up to 12 as Janani Narayanan and Vrinda Rathi of India were on Wednesday named in the International Panel of ICC Development Umpires.
The announcement comes soon after the launch of 100% Cricket, a 12-month campaign anticipated to build on the momentum of the ICC Women's T20 World Cup 2020.
The campaign, launched just before 86,174 people watched the final of the ICC Women's T20 World Cup 2020 final at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on International Women's Day, aims to create more excitement around the women's game ahead of the ICC Women's Cricket World Cup 2021 in New Zealand.
Adrian Griffith, ICC Senior Manager - Umpires and Referees said: "These are exciting times for women's cricket, and it is only appropriate that we have more women officials at the international level. We will work proactively with Member Boards to give female officials the pathway needed for their growth.
"I am sure Janani and Vrinda are looking forward to their time on the panel. I wish them all the best and hope they not only perform well on assignment, but continue to develop their skillset with our support as they travel along their journey."
Narayanan, 34, who idolizes the late David Shepherd of England and retired India umpire Srinivas Venkatraghavan, has been umpiring in Indian domestic tournaments since 2018.
Janani Narayanan said: "It feels great to know that Vrinda and I have been inducted into the ICC's development panel. This gives me the chance to learn from seniors on the circuit and improve in the years to come. Cricket has become part of my daily routine since the 90s and I look forward to be associated with the sport at a higher level.
"I take this opportunity to thank the BCCI for the opportunities given and the ICC for giving me this break. I would like to thank Mr Radhakrishnan, who has been my mentor since I first started umpiring. I would also like to thank my parents who never stopped me from watching cricket on TV, my senior umpires Sai Darshan, Ashwin Kumar and all my state panel umpires, national panel umpires and referees who have helped me learn and grow."
Rathi, 31, a former varsity player who has kept scores in international matches, has also been umpiring in Indian domestic cricket since 2018. Rathi was inspired to take up umpiring after watching retired woman umpire Kathy Cross of New Zealand at the Women's World Cup 2013 and feels umpiring is a natural progression for her.
Said Vrinda Rathi: "I feel privileged to be named in ICC's development panel as this opens new avenues for me. I am sure I will get to learn a lot from other members of the panel and look forward to future assignments.
"Having played cricket and also officiated as a scorer, this was a natural progression for me and I am happy at the way things have unfolded.
"I am thankful to the BCCI for backing me over the years and to the ICC for giving me this opportunity. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank my family, colleagues and mentors for all the help and support over the years."
The other ICC women match officials are: GS Lakshmi, Shandre Fritz (International Panel Match Referees); Lauren Agenbag, Kim Cotton, Shivani Mishra, Claire Polosak, Sue Redfern, Eloise Sheridan, Mary Waldron, Jacquline Williams (all International Panel of ICC Development Umpires).