The ongoing Legends League Cricket, which is being played by some of the former international stars, kicked off on January 20 in Oman. While the fans and viewers are enjoying watching their favourite players in action, there is another thing that has attracted their attention. The tournament has an all-women match official team, including four-match umpires and one match referee. India’s Shubhda Bhosle Gaikwad, South Africa’s Lauren Agenbag, Pakistan’s Humaira Farah, and Hong Kong’s Renee Montgomery are the match umpires while South Africa’s Shandre Fritz is the match referee.
Who are the five female match officials in Legends League Cricket 2021?
Shubhda Bhosle Gaikwad (India):
She is the youngest Indian woman umpire. Prior to getting into umpiring she played cricket for Madhya Pradesh U-16 and U-19 till 2009. Later she completed her Level O umpiring exam to be eligible to become a match official. Shubhda hails from a family of cricketers, including her father, who is a cricket coach, her uncle, who is a former Ranji Trophy player and her brother, who represented Vidarbha in the past. She is a well-educated and a well-qualified umpire with a Masters’ degree in Physical Education and a Ph.D in Sports Psychology.
Lauren Agenbag (South Africa):
At just 22 years of age, she became the first South African woman umpire to officiate a T20I game. She achieved the feat in 2019, when she was the match umpire in a WT20I between South Africa and Sri Lanka in Cape Town. Later, in 2020, she was in the panel of umpire for the ICC Women’s World T20 in Australia. Apart from officiating in T20Is, she has also stood as a match umpire in WODIs, her first one being in a match between South Africa and Pakistan in January last year. So far, she has umpired in three WODIs and 32 WT20Is.
Humaira Farah (Pakistan):
She is the first Pakistani female umpire and is the only one in her family to pursue a career in sport. Since childhood, she was involved with sports. She loved riding bikes and flying kites. She also represented Pakistan Railway Women’s Hockey team. Apart from interest in sports, she was inclined to pursue higher education. She has a Master’s degree in Sports Science and a Bachelor’s degree in Education. She has worked as a sports administrator for 28 years in Lahore Garrison University. In 2005, she appeared for umpiring exams and was the only one among the four women to pass the exam. In the same year, she was the only one to clear Pakistan Cricket Board’s 1 and 2 exams. She has officiated more than 170 matches and umpired in over 150 matches at different levels. At present, she is working as a sports director at Lahore Garrison University.
Renee Montgomery (Hong Kong):
Born in India, she is a former cricketer of Hong Kong. Before settling in Hong Kong, she played a lot of backyard cricket in India. Later, she played cricket for Hong Kong between 2006 and 2007. She was an all-rounder, who was a right handed batter and a right arm seamer. Apart from being a cricketer, she worked as a flight attendant for Cathay Pacific. At present, she is the secretary of CHK ACO (Cricket Hong Kong Association of Cricket Officials). Last year, she was one of the umpires in Gencor Women’s Premier League in Hong Kong.
Shandre Fritz (South Africa):
She is a former South African cricketer, who featured in 59 WODIs and 26 WT20Is for the Proteas between 2003 and 2014. She was a right handed batter and a right arm seamer. She has scored 1343 international runs and picked up 23 international wickets across the two formats. She is the first South African woman to score a century in WT20Is. After hanging up her boots from playing international cricket, she decided to opt for match officiating. In 2019, she was appointed by Cricket South Africa to their Match Referees Panel. Last year in January she officiated her first international match as a match referee during South Africa-Pakistan WODI series.
I am a former cricketer having represented Mumbai University at All India University level. I was a part of MCA probables for the U-19 and U-23 age group. I have been an avid cricket writer for the last five years. Currently I am pursuing my Ph.D from IIT Bombay.