What’s the story?
Sundaram Ravi will remain the only Indian umpire in the ICC Elite Panel of Umpires as the sport's governing body retained the same group of players for the 2017-18 season after the annual review and selection process.
Similarly, the Elite Panel of Match Referees also saw no changes from the present personnel handling the responsibilities.
Former Indian skipper and international umpire, Srinivas Venkatraghavan, was one among the four-member ICC Umpires Selection Panel of the ICC which made the selection on Sunday. The other three members were Chairman and ICC General Manager-Cricket, Geoff Allardice, ICC Chief Match Referee Ranjan Madugalle, ex-England player, coach, umpire and now a commentator, David Lloyd.
Ravi is the least experienced amongst the 12 umpires with an international experience of 68 matches, which includes 20 Tests, 30 ODIs, and 18 T20Is.
In case you didn't know...
The Elite Panel of Umpires was established first by the ICC in the year 2002 with the aim of improving the standards of umpiring in the game as well as to bring in a neutral perspective to matches.
While matches prior to the introduction of the Elite Panel saw one independent umpire and one umpire from the Home nation in Tests and two umpires from the home nation for ODIs, the ICC did away with the system by bringing in neutral umpires for Test matches while the ODIs can feature one umpire from the Home nation.
Members of the ICC’s International Panel of Umpires may be appointed to stand in home ODIs if members of the Elite Panel are busy on duty elsewhere.
The ICC Elite Panel of Umpires features 12 members with Pakistan’s Aleem Dar the most experienced amongst the lot, having stood in 111 Tests, 185 ODIs, and 41 T20Is. In fact, he is one of the most experienced umpires in the history of the sport with 17 Tests shy of Steve Bucknor’s record and is at the No 3 spot when it comes to ODIs which has South African Rudi Koertzen leading the pack with 209 matches.
With neither of the above no longer officiating, Dar will in all likelihood become the most experienced umpire in all three formats of the game with the feat already attached to his name when it comes to T20Is.
It was no surprise that S Ravi, who has earned impressive reviews with his calls on the field, maintained his spot in the Elite Panel of Umpires. The Indian umpire made his debut as an official in a T20I between India and England in October 2011 and was one of the two umpires in the first day-night Test along with England's Richard Illingworth between Australia and New Zealand at the Adelaide Oval in 2015.
Besides Ravi and Aleem Dar, the other mebers of the Elite Panel of Umpires are Kumar Dharmasena, Marais Erasmus, Chris Gaffaney, Ian Gould, Richard Illingworth, Richard Kettleborough, Nigel Llong, Bruce Oxenford, Paul Reiffel and Rod Tucker.
The seven match referees, who will be refereeing in the upcoming season are David Boon, Chris Broad, Jeff Crowe, Ranjan Madugalle, Andy Pycroft, Javagal Srinath and Richie Richardson.
The aforementioned mentioned officials will be involved in international matches for the 2017-18 season which will see a huge number of matches being played all across the globe. No major ICC events are scheduled for this period of time but several bilateral series are lined up already, especially a number of ODIs, in the lead up to next ODI World Cup in 2019.
It is hardly a surprise that S Ravi And Javagal Srinath maintained their places in the ICC Elite Panel of Umpires and Match Referees respectively considering the appreciation they have garnered with their work.
The BCCI remains committed to educating more officials to raise their standards of umpiring in the game and hopefully we will see more officials from Indian joining the ICC list in the coming years.