Sharjah: G.S. Lakshmi, who created history as the first female Match Referee to oversee a men’s One Day International in the opening match of the third series of the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup League 2 between the UAE and USA at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium on Sunday, feels that refereeing is another career opportunity for women.
“There have been many women in the umpiring fraternity but there was nobody in the match referees’ fraternity. In India, we have 13 match referees now and with my promotion to the ICC panel it opens up a lot of avenues for others to looks up to. So now there is one more career opportunity for women to take up now, apart from umpiring.”
Lakshmi is thankful to ICC and Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) for giving her this opportunity. “I thank ICC and BCCI for promoting me to this level. I hope my promotion to the ICC International Panel of Match Referees and records like this can inspire many women. These qualification events provide a good platform to prepare officials. We can get prepared for bigger events to come.” Looking back at the journey that made her a history-maker, Lakshmi said: “I did not get good marks in academics and did not get admission in any college but one principal asked me whether I know any skills and I told I play cricket. I played at college level, then for my state Andhra Pradesh and even became a coach and before being a referee. Becoming a referee gave me the opportunity to be connected with cricket.”
Meanwhile in the first match of the series, USA defeated the UAE by three wickets with 10 balls to spare. After the UAE elected to bat. opener Chirag Suri and young wicketkeeper batsman Vriitya Aravind put on 27 runs before Aravind fell for 16. Suri went on to hit 46 runs off 85 balls with four boundaries and a six while Mohammad Usman topscored with an unbeaten 59. Basil Ahmad and captain Ahmad Raza chipped in with cameo efforts of 25 and 19 runs, respectively, to help UAE post 202 in 45.2 overs.
USA began their chase badly with Junaid Siddique taking the wickets of opener Monak Patel and one-drop batsman Steven Taylor for no score. Xavier Marshall hit 34 while former Barbados batsman Aaron Jones carried USA to the target through a superb knock of 95 from 114 balls (eight boundaries and two sixes).