DHAKA: Sharfuddoula Ibne Shahid said on Thursday it was a “great honour” to be named the first Bangladeshi to join the International Cricket Council’s Elite Panel of umpires.

Sharfuddoula, 47, who last year became the first umpire from Bangladesh to take charge of a World Cup match, had been on the international panel since 2006.

“It is a great honour to be named on the ICC Elite Panel,” Sharfuddoula said in an ICC statement. “To be the first from my country on the panel makes it extra special and I look forward to justifying the faith shown in me.”

The elite umpire panel is responsible for officiating in the majority of men’s Tests and one-day internationals, with the match referee panel also overseeing Twenty20 internationals as well.

Former off-spinner Sharfuddoula was forced to end his first-class career after just one season in 2001 due to a back injury, and joined the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) as its cricket operations manager.

He quit the BCB job to become an umpire and has so far overseen 10 Tests, 63 one-day internationals, and 44 Twenty20 internationals.

ICC chief Geoff Allardice called it “a well-deserved reward for many years of consistent performances”.

On the panel, Sharfuddoula joins three umpires from England -- Michael Gough, Richard Illingworth and Richard Kettleborough -- as well as Australians Paul Reiffel and Rodney Tucker.

Also on the panel are Kumar Dharmasena from Sri Lanka, Christopher Gaffaney from New Zealand, Adrian Holdstock from South Africa, Nitin Menon from India, Ahsan Raza from Pakistan and Joel Wilson from the West Indies.

The ICC also said England’s Chris Broad had stepped down from its elite panel of match referees.

Broad, who has been on the panel since 2003, has refereed 123 Tests, 361 ODIs, and 135 Twenty20 Internationals.

No explanation was given for Broad’s omission, other than a reduction in numbers, with Thursday’s announcement marking the end of the former England batsman’s 21 years on the elite match referee panel.

The 66-year-old presided over 123 Tests, 361 ODIs and 135 T20s. He also found fame with as the father of England pace-bowling great Stuart Broad.

The ICC’s elite panel of match referees is now made up of six members: David Boon of Australia, Jeff Crowe of New Zealand, Ranjan Madugalle of Sri Lanka, Andy Pycroft of Zimbabwe, Richie Richardson of the West Indies, and Javagal Srinath of India.

Published in Dawn, March 29th, 2024

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