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In a 1st, BCCI introduces A+ category for Indian umpires

Indian umpires are entering into the ICC fray, with some in the ICC Elite Panel. Meanwhile, BCCI has introduced a new category for the Indian umpires, in the form of A+.

In a 1st, BCCI introduces A+ category for Indian umpires-ayh
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Mumbai, First Published Jul 22, 2022, 4:57 PM IST

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has done something special for the Indian umpires, and that is to introduce a new category for them. It happens to be the A+ category, which would feature the best and top Indian umpires, while Nitin Menon, a member of the ICC Elite Panel of Umpires, is among ten officials. The others in the same+ category include four international umpires: Anil Chaudhary, Madangopal Jayaraman, Virender Kumar Sharma and KN Ananthapadmabhanan. Also, Rohan Pandit, Nikhil Patwardhan, Sadashiv Iyer, Ulhas Gandhe and Navdeep Singh Sidhu feature in the A+ category.

So far, 20 umpires, including C Shamshuddin, form the A category group, while 60 feature in Group B, along with 46 in Group C and 11 in Group D, falling in the 60-65 age bracket. The complete list was presented at the Apex Council meeting on Thursday, as former international umpires K Hariharan, Sudhir Asnani and Amiesh Saheba, and some members of the BCCI umpires' sub-committee did some work on preparing the same.

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Umpires in A+ and A categories are being paid ₹40,000 per day for a First-Class match. On the other hand, ₹30,000 per day is paid to the B and C category. The presented list was termed 'gradation of umpires', while a BCCI official told PTI that the BCCI had created groups.

"It is not grading. There are groups with A+ being a new category. A+ and A, one can say, form the cream of Indian umpires. Umpires in the B and C categories are also good. Regarding assigning duties across domestic events starting at the top with Ranji Trophy, preference will be given group-wise. The grouping has been done after reviewing the performances of the 2021-2022 season," the BCCI official was quoted as saying.

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The BCCI has not updated its umpires' list since 2018. As the threat of COVID-19 has reduced significantly, the BCCI plans to conduct a full-fledged domestic season after two years. The BCCI is mulling, organising around 1,832 games across ages in the men's and women's cricket, which will be a massive exercise.

Notably, the standard of Indian umpiring has been criticised of late in the highly-watched Indian Premier League (IPL). Currently, only Menon is a part of the ICC Elite Panel. "We put too much emphasis on the elite panel. Only England has three umpires in the elite panel. Australia has two and the rest only one. You can only have so much there. The focus should be on improving the standard of umpiring at all levels," concluded the official.

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