Women will soon be allowed to officiate at Ranji Trophy games. This is only the beginning. According to a BCCI official who spoke with The Indian Express, “The BCCI has decided to give them the opportunity in the men’s game, too.” VRINDA RATHI was a scorer on Mumbai’s maidans, but a chance encounter with Kathy Cross. An umpire for the New Zealand international team inspired her to enter the 22-yard line.
When the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association (TNCA) invited applications for umpire positions, Chennai-based software engineer Janani Narayanan quit her job. Gayathri Venugopalan’s dream of playing professional cricket was shattered by a shoulder injury; however, after passing the BCCI’s umpiring exam, she continued to play center field.
The three trailblazers will presently administer on-field in Ranji Prize coordinates. This season the Indian board chose to draft ladies umpires in the men’s homegrown circuit. “Women will soon be able to officiate Ranji Trophy games. This is only the beginning “Rathi, Narayanan, and Venugopalan will start from Round 2 of the tournament after missing the first leg of games that start next week because they will be officiating in the India-Australia women’s T20I series,”
An official announcement from the BCCI is anticipated soon. Except for women’s cricket, many state associations do draft women to officiate men’s local games. However, the BCCI had never provided women with the opportunity to serve as on-field umpires in men’s senior tournaments up until this point.
Although regulars on the circuit claim to be aware of the three women who are about to make history, Indian board-contracted umpires are not permitted to interact with the media. Rathi, 32, was a medium pacer from Mumbai who had previously played for Mumbai University. She passed the BCCI exams for scorers in 2010 and was a regular scorer in Mumbai’s local matches.
When she met the New Zealand umpire in 2013, she was the official BCCI scorer for the women’s World Cup. She passed both the Mumbai Cricket Association exam and the BCCI exam. Narayanan, 36, was always interested in cricket but has never played it seriously. To the surprise of local officials, she approached the TNCA in 2009 and 2012 for an application to become an umpire.
She was given a form when the state association finally changed its rules and perceptions in 2015. Narayanan decided to quit her IT job in 2018 after passing the Level 2 umpiring exam offered by the BCCI. 43-year-old Delhiian Venugopalan had the ambition to play professional cricket, but a shoulder injury forced her to reevaluate her goals.
She quit her job in the corporate world, passed the BCCI umpiring exams, and enrolled in 2019 as an umpire. Rathi and Narayanan have officiated CK Nayudu Trophy games for under-23 boys. But this season, they will make the big leap, and in a field full of men, women will have the final say