GS Lakshmi first women appointed to ICC's match referee panel
By PA Sport
Last Updated: 14/05/19 5:34pm
Indian official GS Lakshmi has become the first female to be appointed to the International Cricket Council's highest panel of match referees.
As a result Lakshmi, 51, is immediately eligible to referee all international matches.
The move follows Claire Polosak's achievement in becoming the first woman to umpire a men's one-day international, the final of the World Cricket League Division 2 match between Oman and Namibia earlier this month.
"To be selected in the international panel by the ICC is a huge honour for me as it opens up new avenues," Lakshmi said, who has adjudicated three women's ODIs and three T20Is.
"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.
"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."
In a further boost for the organisation's diversity, Polosak's fellow Australian Eloise Sheridan has became the eighth female to be named on the development panel of umpires.
Lauren Agenbag, Kim Cotton, Shivani Mishra, Sue Redfern, Mary Waldron and Jacqueline Williams are the other women officials on that panel - the first woman on the panel was Kathy Cross, who retired last year.
Adrian Griffith, the ICC's senior manager of umpires and referees, said: "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.
"We are committed to ensuring greater gender parity among our officials, but all appointments are made purely on merit."
Sheridan added: "As a 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.
"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."