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Thursday, 15 March, 2001, 14:36 GMT
Umpire changes draw closer
David Richards and Malcolm Gray
ICC chief David Richards *right) is keen to find a solution
The International Cricket Council is confident that a new system for the selection of umpires will be in place by April 2002.

ICC chief executive David Richards has committed the ruling body to a change in the current system after the recent spate of high-profile mistakes.

The recruitment and training of independent umpires and match referees, as well as the use of technology to help decision-making, are the focus of proposals under review.

We recognise that achieving these standards is a major priority and we are working hard to agree and implement new procedures
  David Richards

"Recent events have brought added attention to this area but the ICC had already agreed a process for reviewing both the use of technology and the wider issue of providing the highest standards of umpiring and refereeing," Richards said in a statement.

"We recognise that achieving these standards is a major priority and we are working hard to agree and implement new procedures in the shortest practical timescale," he added.

The committee responsible for any changes will be chaired by former India captain Sunil Gavaskar and will meet in May.

Other prominent figures involved will be former Test cricketers Allan Border, Zaheer Abbas, Kris Srikkanth, Duleep Mendis and Andy Pycroft.

In February, an ICC executive board meeting in Melbourne agreed to the principle of a major review of the regulation of the game on the field.

At present independent Test match umpires are selected from a 20-strong panel nominated by all test-playing member countries except Bangladesh.


The proposal under development envisages an elite panel of eight full-time contracted umpires, who would be appointed to stand in most Test matches.

Appointment to this group would be purely on merit, reflecting the seniority and status of individuals based on, among other things, marks awarded by Test captains.

Another group of between 25 to 30 emerging umpires would be groomed to support, and in time join, the elite panel.

Umpires would be subjected to a comprehensive graduation programme involving extensive training, physical examinations - including sight and hearing checks - and international exchange programmes.

A similar approach is also planned for the ICC match referees' panel. A full-time group of up to eight referees will be contracted to the ICC and assigned to international series.

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