Four umpires of Indian heritage step up to the crease in Australian cricket

By Our Reporter
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Cricket Australia has announced that four members of its State and Territory Umpire Panels (STUP) for the 2023/24 season hail from Indian heritage. The umpires—Shared Patel, Daval Bhatt, Gaurav Bawa, and Harsimran Singh—will have the chance to officiate in various Cricket Australia competitions, including the Weber Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL).

The inclusion of these four umpires is a notable milestone in the broader conversation about diversity in sports, particularly in a cricket-mad country like Australia. This season’s umpire panel will not only see them in action in the WBBL but also in the Women’s National Cricket League (WNCL), Toyota Second XI, CA Underage National Championships, and as Fourth Umpires in the KFC Big Bash League.

Cricket Australia has also announced three other South Asian umpires, namely, two from Pakistan and one from Sri Lanka, to be part of the same panel. This move essentially puts eight umpires from South Asia on the board for the upcoming season. The full list includes Dinusha Bandara from Sri Lanka, Syed Humayun and Muhammad Qureshi from Pakistan, along with the four umpires of Indian heritage.

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But the diversity drive doesn’t stop there. Cricket Australia has incorporated a fair mix of genders in its panel as well, with six women making the cut. Newcomers Clare Haysom and Kate Holloman join the ranks of Claire Polosak, Eloise Sheridan, Lisa McCabe, and Ashlee Gibbons in this season’s umpire panel.

What makes this announcement particularly significant is that cricket, both in Australia and globally, has a storied history that can often be conservative in its traditionalism. However, steps like these point to a more inclusive future for the sport.

Cricket Australia has expressed their congratulations to all the match officials on their respective appointments, and rightfully so. With the diversification of its umpire panel, Cricket Australia is not only breaking barriers but also ensuring that the sport reflects the multicultural fabric of the nation it represents.

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In a related announcement designed to boost fan engagement, Cricket Australia revealed the launch of Cricket Gold on Samsung Smart TVs. The world’s first cricket FAST channel will make its debut on October 25, featuring an extensive archive of the greatest moments from the past 40 years of men’s and women’s Test, ODI, and T20 cricket. Notable performances by cricketing legends such as Sir Vivian Richards, Shane Warne, and Sachin Tendulkar will be on display, accompanied by iconic commentary.

Cricket Gold will be initially available only on Samsung TV Plus, Samsung’s free ad-supported streaming TV service. This initiative indicates how Cricket Australia is investing in not only diversifying the game but also in enhancing fan experience through technology.

As the 2023/24 cricket season unfolds, fans and players alike will be watching closely. The infusion of diverse talents into umpiring roles, both from different ethnic backgrounds and genders, showcases a sport in transition—slowly but surely inching towards becoming a true mirror of the society it entertains.

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