India’s Nitin Menon on Monday became the youngest member of the International Cricket Council’s Elite Panel of Umpires, replacing England’s Nigel Llong for the upcoming 2020-21 season after an annual review.
The 36-year-old, who has officiated in three Tests, 24 ODIs and 16 T20Is, is only the third from India to make it to the prestigious group after former captain Srinivas Venkatraghavan and Sundaram Ravi. Ravi was axed last year.
“To be officiating regularly along with the leading umpires and referees of the world is something that I always dreamt of and the feeling has yet to sink in,” Menon was quoted as saying in an ICC statement.
England’s Michael Gough, 40, was the youngest in the current panel before Menon’s elevation.
Menon quit playing competitive cricket at 22 and by 23, he had become a senior umpire, officiating in BCCI accredited matches.
While standard of Indian umpiring has copped a lot of criticism globally, performance of Menon over the past few years has been a silver lining.
Menon is well aware of his responsibilities.
“We did not have any representation in the Elite Panel for a while. I now want to keep the Indian flag flying high. I hope to see more umpires from India at the top level,” Menon told BCCI.TV.
“I see this as an opportunity and a big responsibility to take Indian Umpires forward and guide them in every possible way by sharing my experiences.”
The elevation to the Elite Panel makes Menon eligible to officiate in next year’s Ashes in Australia in case ICC revokes the local umpires for home series policy which has been approved owing to the Covid-19 pandemic. Menon also becomes eligible to stand for all five Test matches that India will play against England at home early next year.