March 19, 2024

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BCCI Marks a First: Women Umpires in Ranji Trophy Soon

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BCCI Marks a First Women Umpires in Ranji Trophy Soon

“Women will soon be permitted to officiate Ranji Trophy matches. This is just a start. The BCCI has decided to give them the opportunity in the men’s game, too,” an official from BCCI told The Indian Express.

VRINDA RATHI used to score on the Mumbai maidans, but a chance encounter with New Zealand international umpire Kathy Cross motivated her to enter the 22-yard zone.

When the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association (TNCA) called for umpire applications, Janani Narayanan, a software engineer in Chennai, decided to leave her job. Gayathri Venugopalan’s aspirations of playing professional cricket were dashed by a shoulder injury, but after passing the BCCI’s umpiring exam, she remained on the center square.

The Indian board decided to draft women umpires in the men’s domestic circuit, so the three pioneers will now officiate on-field in Ranji Trophy games this season. “Women will soon have the opportunity to officiate Ranji Trophy matches. This is just a start. The BCCI has decided to give them the opportunity in the men’s game, too,” a BCCI official told The Indian Express.

BCCI Marks a First Women Umpires in Ranji Trophy Soon

Due to their involvement as officials in the India-Australia women’s T20I series, Rathi, Narayanan, and Venugopalan will not participate in the first leg of the tournament, which begins next week. Instead, they will begin in Round 2 of the competition. A formal announcement from the BCCI is anticipated to be made shortly.

With the exception of women’s cricket, many state associations do choose women to officiate local men’s games. But up until this point, the BCCI had never given female officials the chance to officiate as on-field umpires in senior men’s tournaments.

Indian board-contracted umpires are prohibited from speaking to the media, but regulars on the circuit claim they are aware of the three women who are about to make history.

Rathi, a 32-year-old medium pacer from Mumbai, previously played for Mumbai University. She was a frequent scorer in neighborhood matches in Mumbai and passed the BCCI exams for scorers in 2010. She first encountered the New Zealand umpire in 2013 while serving as the BCCI’s official scorer for the women’s World Cup. She passed both the BCCI test and the exams given by the Mumbai Cricket Association.

Despite never taking cricket seriously, 36-year-old Narayanan has always been drawn to the sport. To the surprise of local officials, she had contacted the TNCA in 2009 and 2012 to request an application form to be an umpire. Finally changing their policies and perceptions in 2015, the state association gave her a form. After passing the BCCI’s Level 2 umpiring exam in 2018, Narayanan made the decision to leave her IT position.

Venugopalan, 43, of Delhi, originally intended to play professional cricket, but a shoulder injury made her reevaluate her goals. 2019 saw her enroll as an umpire after quitting her corporate job and passing the BCCI umpiring exams.

In CK Nayudu Trophy matches involving under-23 boys, Rathi and Narayanan served as officials. However, this year they will make the big step and give women the final say in a field dominated by men.

Reference: https://indianexpress.com/article/sports/cricket/bcci-marks-a-first-women-umpires-in-ranji-trophy-soon-8307747/

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