In a significant first for world cricket, the International Cricket Council has named an all-female panel of match officials for the upcoming ICC Women’s T20 World Cup 2023 in South Africa.
Three match referees and 10 umpires make up the 13-woman team in what is a landmark moment and is in part of the ICC’s strategic ambition of advancing the involvement and visibility of women in cricket.
ICC General Manager – Cricket, Wasim Khan, said: “We are thrilled to announce this panel of match officials for the Women’s T20 World Cup. Women’s cricket has been growing rapidly in recent years and as part of that we have been building the pathways to ensure more women have the opportunity to officiate at the highest level.
“This announcement is a reflection of our intent in this space and just the start of our journey where men and women enjoy the same opportunities across our sport. We are committed to continuing to support our female match officials and provide opportunities to showcase their talents on the global stage. I wish them all the best for the tournament.”
ICC Manager – Women’s Cricket, Snehal Pradhan, said: “When young women and girls see it, they believe that they can be it. That’s just one of the reasons why having this match officials panel is so special.
“It shows the next generation that there is a career and a pathway that takes them to the very top of the game, the World Cup, even if you’re not a player. It shows that there are so many ways to get involved.
The panel this time includes seven first timers at the Women’s T20 World Cup and the announcement comes after a constant rise in the number of women officiating in global tournaments.
Eight women officials each were involved in the Women’s T20 World Cup 2020 and the Women’s Cricket World Cup 2022, while nine women have been involved in the ICC Under-19 Women’s T20 World Cup in South Africa.
Claire Polosak is the most experienced of the umpires, selected as she continues her record of officiating in every Women’s World Cup, T20 and ODI, since 2016.
The 34-year-old Australian will be officiating in her fourth T20 World Cup, while Sue Redfern of England, Jacqueline Williams of the West Indies, and Kim Cotton of New Zealand will be involved in their third Women’s T20 World Cups.
Lauren Agenbag will get the chance to umpire at a World Cup on home soil with the South African selected for her second T20 World Cup with match referee Shandre Fritz to oversee games in her home country at her debut T20 World Cup.
The South African duo was part of the match officials’ team for the first game of the Women’s Cricket World Cup in New Zealand last year as Fritz made her World Cup bow, while Agenbag continued her impressive rise having previously become the first woman from her country to umpire a T20I.
Fritz, who represented the Proteas on home soil as a player at the 2005 Women’s Cricket World Cup, is joined as a match referee by GS Lakshmi of India who passed a decade of refereeing T20 Internationals last year.
Meanwhile, Michell Pereira of Sri Lanka will take charge of her first-ever T20I at the 2023 World Cup which gets underway on 10 February as the hosts South Africa take on Sri Lanka in Cape Town.
England’s Anna Harris is the youngest of the umpires at just 24 years old as she makes her debut at a major ICC event.
Eloise Sheridan of Australia, Indian duo Vrinda Rathi and N Janani, and Nimali Perera of Sri Lanka are all umpiring at a T20 World Cup for the first time.
Match Officials at the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup 2023
Match Referees: GS Lakshmi (India), Shandre Fritz (South Africa), Michell Pereira (Sri Lanka)
Umpires: Sue Redfern (England), Eloise Sheridan (Australia), Claire Polosak (Australia), Jacqueline WIlliams (West Indies), Kim Cotton (New Zealand), Lauren Agenbag (South Africa), Anna Harris (England), Vrinda Rathi (India), N Janani (India), Nimali Perera (Sri Lanka)