A decade after S. Venkataraghavan served on the elite ICC umpires’ panel, Sundaram Ravi has made it to the top ICC selection of umpires on Thursday, besides biggies like New Zealand’s Chris Gaffaney, replacing the outgoing umpires Billy Bowden and Steve Davis.
The 49-year-old umpire from Chennai was officiating in the two-Test England-NZ series in England prior to this selection, which is the pinnacle to reach for any umpire. With over 16 years of experience since 1999, Ravi says the IPL has revived the fading hopes of umpiring as a profession in India.
Thanking the BCCI for bringing IPL with world players, he said the umpires came in touch with world players and their playing style and credits, which helped them guauze the nuances of umpiring at a higher level and feel at home in any international match.
Remembering the golden words of Simon Taufel who said, “Be a good human being to be a good umpire,” Ravi says he would strive to remain agile and fit on the ground in his footsteps. “Stop Thinking and start umpiring” is another advice he has taken out of Taufel’s career.
Ravi has umpired in six Tests, 24 ODIs and 12 T20Is, since making his debut in Visakhapatnam in December 2011 in an ODI between India and the West Indies. he has been elevated to the elite list now.
The team of umpires will commence work from 1 July 2015. Gaffaney, who officiated in his first first-class match in 2005, made his international umpiring debut in Toronto in September 2010 in an ODI between Canada and Ireland, and has to date umpired in two Tests, 41 ODIs and 15 T20Is.
Congratulating the panel members, ICC General Manager Geoff Allardice said, “Their promotion is a testament to their hard work, as well as good decision-making and man-management skills over a period of time on the international panel.”
Gaffaney, who also played 83 first-class matches as an Otago opener, was upbeat over the elevation. “I am thrilled to be promoted to the elite panel as it has to be the aim of every umpire to be appointed to this select group… I, however, need to mention the support and understanding of both the NZC and the Police force, who allowed me the opportunity to follow my career as a policeman and also as an umpire.”
Echoing similar views, Ravi said: “I feel honoured and privileged to be selected for the Emirates Elite Panel of ICC Umpires and thank the BCCI for its support and the ICC for providing this opportunity.
“I have always enjoyed the company of those umpires already on the elite panel and now I have the chance to work with them all on a more regular basis. I am really looking forward to the challenges ahead and aim to maintain a high standard of umpiring.”
The Emirates Elite Panel of ICC Umpires was selected by the ICC Umpires Selection Panel consisting of Chairman, Geoff Allardice, ICC’s General Manager – Cricket, ICC Chief Match Referee Ranjan Madugalle, ex-England player and coach and umpire, David Lloyd, and Srinivas Venkataraghavan, the former India captain and international umpire.
ICC Elite Panel of Umpires for 2015-16:
Aleem Dar (Pakistan); Kumar Dharmasena (Sri Lanka); Marais Erasmus (South Africa); Chris Gaffaney (New Zealand); Ian Gould (England); Richard Illingworth (England); Richard Kettleborough (England); Nigel Llong (England); Bruce Oxenford (Australia); S Ravi (India); Paul Reiffel (Australia); Rod Tucker (Australia).