Agency DUBAI: Former India cricketer GS Lakshmi is set to become the first woman match referee to oversee a men’s ODI when she officiates the opening match of the third series of the World Cup League 2 in the United Arab Emirates on Sunday. Lakshmi will oversee the match between the United Arab Emirates and the United States of America at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium. The competition aims to provide development opportunities for officials. This is the second significant achievement for Lakshmi this year, following her appointment as the first woman onto the ICC International Panel of Match Referees in May. The 51-year old, who first officiated as a match referee in domestic women’s cricket matches in 2008-09, has now overseen three women’s ODI matches, 16 men’s T20 Internationals and seven women’s T20 Internationals. “It feels great, having anything assigned first to your name gives me a sense of pride. This being a big ICC event (ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup League 2) it feels great to be officiating at this level,” Lakshmi said in an ICC media release. Speaking of how she first got into cricket and her time as a player, Lakshmi recounted how cricket secured her place at college. “I played cricket with my brothers and friends, when they (the college) saw my skills, I had a natural bowling action, they immediately accepted me to the college and I then played for my state in domestic cricket for 18 years.” Lakshmi is hopeful that other women can follow in her footsteps of officiating in the game. “These qualification events provide a good platform to prepare officials and provide them opportunities to gain valuable experience. I hope my promotion to the ICC International Panel of Match Referees and records like this can inspire many females. This is definitely another career opportunity for women.” Adrian Griffith, ICC Senior Manager – Umpires and Referees – congratulated Lakshmi on her achievement. “Congratulations to GS Lakshmi on becoming the first women match referee to oversee a men’s ODI. It is thoroughly deserved and highlights the wonderful opportunities there are for females in cricket officiating.
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