Menon becomes youngest ICC elite umpire at 36

Updated June 30, 2020

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Menon gave up playing cricket when he was 22 to start umpiring and has gradually moved up the rankings, officiating in three Tests, 24 One-day internationals and 16 Twenty20 Internationals. — Photo courtesy ICC
Menon gave up playing cricket when he was 22 to start umpiring and has gradually moved up the rankings, officiating in three Tests, 24 One-day internationals and 16 Twenty20 Internationals. — Photo courtesy ICC

NEW DELHI: India’s Nitin Menon, 36, on Monday became the youngest member of the International Cricket Council ICC)’s elite umpire list.

Menon gave up playing cricket when he was 22 to start umpiring and has gradually moved up the rankings, officiating in three Tests, 24 One-day internationals and 16 Twenty20 Internationals.

“My priority was to play for the country rather than umpiring,” said Menon, who played two matches for Madhya Pradesh state in 2004 before taking up umpiring.

“I quit playing at 22 and I became a senior umpire at the age of 23. It wasn’t worth trying to play and umpire so I decided to focus on umpiring alone,” added Menon, who replaced England’s Nigel Llong on the 2020-21 season list.

“I’m feeling very confident by the fact that age is on my side, but the performance is what ultimately matters. Whether I do well or not, age has little to do with performance.”

Menon is only the third Indian after former national captain and spinner Srinivas Venkatraghavan and Sundaram Ravi — who was dropped from the list last year — to join the elite group of 12 umpires who take charge at top matches and tournaments.

“It’s a great honour and matter of pride for me to be named in the Elite panel,” Menon said in an ICC release. “To be officiating regularly along with the leading umpires and referees of the world is something that I always dreamt of and the feeling has yet to sink in.

“Having already officiated in Tests, ODIs and T20Is as well as in ICC events, I understand the great responsibility that comes with the job. I also feel this is a responsibility on me to take Indian umpires forward and help them by sharing my experiences.

“It’s a great honour and matter of pride for me to be named in the Elite panel,” Menon said in an ICC media release. “To be officiating regularly along with the leading umpires and referees of the world is something that I always dreamt of and the feeling has yet to sink in.

“Having already officiated in Tests, ODIs and T20Is as well as in ICC events, I understand the great responsibility that comes with the job. I also feel this is a responsibility on me to take Indian umpires forward and help them by sharing my experiences.”

ICC Elite panel of umpires: Aleem Dar (Pakistan), Kumar Dharmasena (Sri Lanka), Marais Erasmus (South Africa), Chris Gaffaney (New Zealand), Michael Gough (England), Nitin Menon (India), Richard Illingworth (England), Richard Kettleborough (England), Bruce Oxenford (Australia), Paul Reiffel (Australia), Rod Tucker (Australia), Joel Wilson (West Indies).

ICC Elite panel of match referees: David Boon (Australia), Chris Broad (England), Jeff Crowe (New Zealand), Ranjan Madugalle (Sri Lanka), Andy Pycroft (Zimbabwe), Richie Richardson (West Indies), Javagal Srinath (India).

Published in Dawn, June 30th, 2020