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Last Updated: Friday, 6 February, 2004, 15:04 GMT
Mallender joins elite
N Mallender
It has come around sooner than I expected
Neil Mallender
Neil Mallender and Aleem Dar will join the elite panel of Test umpires in April following an annual performance review of all umpires.

Asoka de Silva, David Orchard and Russell Tiffin have all been dropped from the panel by the International Cricket Council (ICC).

With umpire Venkat of India retiring, the number of umpires to officiate in Tests will drop from 11 to nine.

Englishman Mallender said: "I was quite shocked when I was told."

Both Mallender, 42, and 35-year-old Dar of Pakistan said they had been hoping to make the grade.

They will join the established quartet of David Shepherd, Steve Bucknor, Daryl Harper and Rudi Koertzen.

Meanwhile, the three umpires who joined in April 2003 - Billy Bowden, Darrell Hair and Simon Taufel - all retain their places.

ICC chief executive, Malcolm Speed, said the changes to the panel reflected the strong depth in umpiring ranks around the world.

"Over the past two years we have seen a strong group of new umpires emerge," he said.

"Aleem Dar and Neil Mallender have demonstrated that they are ready to take the next step in their careers."

Both Dar and Mallender have played first-class cricket with Mallender also representing England in two Tests in 1992.

Both men graduate from the second tier of international umpires where they gained both Test and one-day international experience.

Venkat bows out of Tests
05 Feb 04  |  Cricket
Three new umpires join elite
04 Apr 03  |  Cricket
Umpires enter new era
12 Sep 02  |  ICC Champions Trophy
ICC officials flying high
13 Jul 02  |  Cricket
Shepherd takes lone stand
12 Mar 02  |  Cricket

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