By: Muhammad Saad Abbasi
MELBOURNE: In a significant move that underscores the growing diversity in Australian cricket, three umpires of Pakistani descent have been named to officiate in the upcoming Weber Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL) matches. The announcement was made as part of Cricket Australia’s unveiling of the 2023/24 State and Territory Umpire Panels (STUP).
Syed Humayun, Ahmad Khan, and Muhammad Qureshi, who trace their origins back to Pakistan, will join the ranks of esteemed officials, marking a remarkable step towards inclusivity in the sport. These three names will be featured as the fourth umpires in the KFC Big Bash League (BBL), Australia’s premier domestic T20 competition.
Out of the 35 members appointed to the STUP for the 2023/24 season, this trio of umpires with Pakistani roots stands out. They will not only be involved in the WBBL but will also officiate in various other Cricket Australia competitions, including the Women’s National Cricket League (WNCL), Toyota Second XI matches, CA Underage National Championships, and as fourth umpires in the KFC Big Bash League.
The inclusion of these three umpires reflects the commitment to a diverse and multicultural cricket community in Australia. Moreover, four members of Indian heritage and one with Sri Lankan family heritage have also found their place in the CA Umpires panel for the upcoming season.
The eight South Asian members of the STUP, hailing from various cricketing nations, include Dinusha Bandara (Sri Lanka), Syed Humayun (Pakistan), Sharad Patel (India), Daval Bhatt (India), Harsimran Singh (India), Muhammad Qureshi (Pakistan), Gaurav Bawa (India), and Ahmad Khan (Pakistan). Additionally, six women have also earned their spots on the panel, with Claire Polosak, Eloise Sheridan, Clare Haysom, Lisa McCabe, Ashlee Gibbons, and Kate Holloman making noteworthy contributions to the sport.
Notably, Haysom and Holloman are newcomers to the panel, further showcasing the efforts to bring fresh talent into the umpiring fold. Cricket Australia congratulates all the match officials on their well-deserved appointments, emphasizing the importance of diversity and equal representation in the cricketing world. This step will not only enrich the sport but also inspire aspiring cricketers from various backgrounds to pursue careers in officiating.