The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) recently held a review into officiating of top-level cricket in England and Wales and then came up with a 34-member strong professional umpires’ team. 44-year old Sue Redfern has become the first woman on the panel.
Earlier in 2020, the English Cricket Board was accused of racism in the appointment of match officials. And, in response to that, the board launched an independent review “to understand how the ECB can continue to best attract, appoint, develop, performance manage and evaluate match officials from all backgrounds”.
Neil Snowball, the ECB’s managing director of county cricket, said: “This is significant because every umpire on the Professional Umpires’ Team will now have the performance and financial support to make umpiring their sole career.
“Previously, Reserve List umpires have had to juggle their umpiring commitments with other work. Those umpires are now included in the single pool with more time and resources being given to them to focus on developing their skills and ability as umpires.
“This also sends a clear message to anyone who wants to be an umpire that structures and support are in place that makes umpiring a viable and attractive career choice.”
As per the new list, five members have been added. Naeem Ashraf played two ODIs for Pakistan in 1995, Besides, the list also includes the likes of Jack Shantry, Anthony Harris, Surendiran Shanmugam, and Redfern.
With that, the likes of Jeff Evans, Jeremy Lloyds, Ian Gould and Ian Ramage have all been retired.
For those of you who don’t know, former English woman international, Redfern became the first woman to officiate in England men’s international fixture. “The most significant aspect of this opportunity for me is that, for the first time, I can focus all my energy on umpiring as a career,” Redfern said. “This is my first full-time contract as an umpire. That means a lot to me as it allows me to challenge myself to take the next step in my career.”