India’s GS Lakshmi is first woman on ICC International Panel of Match Referees
Eloise Sheridan is the eighth woman on the ICC Development Panel of Umpires. (Image: ICC)

The International Cricket Council (ICC) on Tuesday welcomed India’s GS Lakshmi as the first woman on its International Panel of Match Referees, while naming Australian Eloise Sheridan as the eighth female umpire on the Development Panel of Umpires.

In a statement on May 14, the ICC said that Lakshmi will be eligible to referee international games with immediate effect.

The 51-year-old Lakshmi made her debut as a match referee in domestic women’s cricket in 2008-09 and since then has officiate in three women’s ODI matches and three women’s T20I matches.

“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,” said Lakshmi.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank the ICC, officials at the BCCI, 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.”

The appointment of Sheridan – who in 2018 became the first woman in Australia to umpire a men’s first grade Premier Cricket final – comes close on the heels of fellow Australian Claire Polosak becoming the first women umpire to officiate in a men’s ODI.

She joins Polosak, Lauren Agenbag, Kim Cotton, Shivani Mishra, Sue Redfern, Mary Waldron and Jacqueline Williams on the ICC Development Panel of Umpires.

“As player, cricket allowed me to travel, meet wonderful people and share a mutual love for the game. It is great now to be able to continue my involvement in cricket in a different role, and give something back to the game that has been such a big part of my life,” said Sheridan. “I couldn’t take up opportunities like this without the continued support of the South Australian Cricket Association and Cricket Australia, as well as my very understanding partner.”

Added Adrian Griffith, ICC Senior Manager – Umpires and Referees: “We welcome Lakshmi and Eloise 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.”