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Friday, 1 March, 2002, 14:58 GMT
ICC names all-star referees
Former West Indies captain Clive Lloyd
Lloyd: The only captain to lift the World Cup twice
Former West Indies skipper Clive Lloyd has been included in an elite five-man panel of match referees who will officiate in every Test from the beginning of April.

The decision to appoint fully professional referees, and an eight-man panel of umpires who have yet to be named, was taken by the International Cricket Council in an attempt to improve player discipline and raise standards of officiating.

Sri Lankan Ranjan Madugalle was appointed as chief referee last November, and he will also be joined by Wasim Raja of Pakistan, South African Mike Procter and India's Gundappa Viswanath.

There are no representatives from England or Australia, the game's two oldest Test-playing nations.

No Denness

The claims of Mike Denness were overlooked, despite him having the backing of the England and Wales Cricket Board.

The members of the new panel, who have all agreed two-year contracts, played a combined total of almost 300 Tests and have an average age of 51, 10 years lower than the current ICC panel.


This is an outstanding group of former internationals who are respected for their achievements throughout the cricket world
ICC chief Malcolm Speed

All 10 Test-playing countries were asked to nominate candidates for the panel, and more than 30 were interviewed by Madugalle.

He then made recommendations to International Cricket Council chief executive Malcolm Speed and Sunil Gavaskar, chairman of the ICC's Cricket Committee-Playing, who had the final say.

Gavaskar took no part, however, in considering the claims of Viswanath, who is his brother-in-law.

Tough job

"I know that international captains and cricketers are looking to match referees to take a sensible and consistent lead on disciplinary and other matters," said Gavaskar.

"This new panel is a tremendous group of former Test cricketers, who I am sure will command the respect of teams around the world."

Of the five, only Madugalle and Viswanath are members of the existing panel, although Lloyd did the job for three years until 1995-96 before taking up the job of West Indies team manager.

Mike Denness
Mike Denness: Overlooked after five years as a referee

Wasim has been working as a teacher in England, while Procter has concentrated on media work since giving up the job of South African coach in 1994, although he remains a national team selector.

"Restructuring the panel from 20 part-time referees to five full-time professionals will take standards of decision-making and authority to new levels.

"The referees will work closely with the new panel of eight elite umpires and I am confident that with a new disciplinary code to back their judgement, we will see a distinct improvement in on-field behaviour in a short space of time," Speed commented.

Embroiled

The appointments come at a time when the ICC is embroiled in an ongoing row over the officiating of former England captain Denness during the South Africa v India Test at Port Elizabeth last November.

He punished six Indian players for dissent and other breaches of discipline, prompting furious protests and the setting up of a review panel to look into the matter.

Their findings may be made public later this week.

The England and Wales Cricket Board said it took a relaxed view about the absence of a British official.

A spokesman said: "The panel chosen looks to be a very good one."

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 ON THIS STORY
ICC chief Malcolm Speed
"The referees are all experienced and have good cricket backgrounds"
See also:

01 Mar 02 |  Cricket
ICC match referees profiles
01 Mar 02 |  Cricket
Sensible strategy in place
30 Jan 02 |  Cricket
ICC ignores India's panel snub
12 Jan 02 |  Cricket
Imran: no need for referees
28 Dec 01 |  Cricket
ICC seeks top umpires
14 Nov 01 |  Cricket
Madugalle to head referees panel
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