GS Lakshmi set to become first woman referee to oversee men's ODI

Women's CricZone Staff
New Update
GS Lakshmi dreams big

GS Lakshmi standing in the first-ever WIPL finals. ©BCCI

GS Lakshmi, the former Indian Railways player who went on to become the first woman to be part of the ICC's panel of international match referees, is set to add another first to her name.

The former outswing bowler will create history as the first female match referee to oversee a men's ODI in the opening match of the third series of the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup League 2 between UAE and USA on December 8 at Sharjah Cricket Stadium.

The competition which is on the Road to India 2023 is providing development opportunities for officials. The 51-year-old, who first officiated as a match referee in women's domestic circuit in 2008-09, has now overseen three women’s ODI matches, 16 men’s T20Is and seven women’s T20Is.

“It feels great, having anything assigned ‘first’ to your name gives me a sense of pride. This being a big ICC event (ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup League 2) it feels great to be officiating at this level," Lakshmi told ICC of her achievement. “I played cricket with my brothers and friends, when they (the college) saw my skills, I had a natural bowling action, they immediately accepted me to the college and I then played for my state in domestic cricket for 18 years.”

Lakshmi is hopeful that other women can follow in her footsteps of officiating games. “These qualification events provide a good platform to prepare officials and provide them opportunities to gain valuable experience. I hope my promotion to the ICC International Panel of Match Referees and records like this can inspire many females. This is definitely another career opportunity for women.”

Adrian Griffith, ICC Senior Manager – Umpires and Referees, congratulated Lakshmi and said, "It is thoroughly deserved and highlights the wonderful opportunities there are for females in cricket officiating.”

Lakshmi’s achievement comes after Claire Polosak made history to be the first woman umpire to stand in a Men’s One Day International at the final of the ICC World Cricket League Division 2 earlier in April. The third series of the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup League 2 takes place from December 8 to 15 in Sharjah and Dubai between UAE, USA, and Scotland as part of the qualification process to the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023.