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Women’s umpires Rathi, Narayanan, and Venugopalan debuted in the Ranji Trophy this year.

On Tuesday, Vrinda Rathi, Janani Narayanan, and Gayathri Venugopalan made history by becoming the first female trio to officiate in the prestigious Ranji Trophy. Vrinda Rathi was a former scorer, Janani Narayanan was a former software engineer, and Gayathri Venugopalan was a player whose career was cut short by injury. While Venugopal is in Jamshedpur serving as an official for the second round match between Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh, Narayanan and Rathi are serving as umpires in the game between Railways and Tripura, which is being played in Surat, and the match between Goa and Pondicherry, which is being played in Porvorim, respectively. Coming from a variety of different backgrounds, the three women were already well-respected on the women’s circuit when the BCCI made the choice to choose women umpires for the men’s domestic circuit. This move made them pioneers in the field.


The game of cricket and all that had to do with it was extremely important to Narayanan, who was 36 years old. She contacted the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association (TNCA) on more than one occasion in an effort to become an umpire because she yearned to go out on the field. She passed the BCCI’s Level 2 umpiring test in 2018, only a few years after the state organisation revised its rule to allow women to officiate, and she didn’t have to give it much thought before she left her comfortable IT job to seek a career as an umpire.

Additionally, she served as a referee in the Tamil Nadu Premier League in the year 2021. On the other side, Rathi, who is 32 years old, has made his way up from the maidans of Mumbai. Before passing the BCCI scorers test, she was previously a match scorer for local competitions. During the 2013 Women’s World Cup, she served as the official scorer for the BCCI. In later years, she transitioned into the role of umpire.

Narayanan and Rathi

Both Narayanan and Rathi have a great deal of experience as umpires, and back in the year 2020, they were both selected to serve on the panel of developing umpires for the International Cricket Council (ICC). The veteran umpire coach Denis Burns, who has worked closely with Indian umpires and supervised their climb to the international level, has applauded the duo’s elevation to the ICC development panel. Burns has worked closely with Indian umpires and helped oversee their ascent to the international level. According to what he had previously said, Janani and Vrinda are the “new wave” of female umpires in India. Venugopalan, now 43 years old and residing in Delhi, had aspirations of playing cricket but those ambitions were dashed when she suffered a shoulder injury. After passing the BCCI test, she became an umpire the next year (2019).

She has previous experience working in the Ranji Trophy as a reserve umpire for the fourth position. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has a long way to go before it can catch up with other countries, particularly Australia and England, who both have female umpires working in men’s cricket. Only three women are now registered as umpires with the BCCI, out of a total of 150.

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