Former cricketer GS Lakshmi, on Tuesday, was welcomed by the International Cricket Council (ICC) as the first-ever female match referee. 51-year-old Lakshmi has earlier overseen three women's ODI matches as well as three T20 matches. She first oversaw a match as a referee in 2008-09 in domestic women's cricket. Lakshmi is now eligible to officiate international matches with immediate effect.
"To be selected in the international panel by the ICC is a huge honour for me as it opens up new avenues. 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," Lakshmi said in a statement.
"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," she added.
Lakshmi's appointment as a match referee came shortly after Australia's Claire Polosak became the first ever female umpire to stand in a men's ODI. Australia's Eloise Sheridan also joined Polosak in the ICC Development Panel of Umpires. This takes the total number of female members in the panel to eight.
"We are committed to ensuring greater gender parity among our officials, but all appointments are made purely on merit. The elevation is as a result of a thorough evaluation process that identifies the most talented match officials breaking through to an international level. It is pleasing that through consistently high performance we are able to add more women to our panels," Adrian Griffith, ICC Senior Manager - Umpires and Referees, said.