BCCI to allow female umpires to officiate during the upcoming Ranji Trophy 2022

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) recently got started with attempts to eradicate discrimination from the play based on gender and for a first, introduced its ‘Pay Equity Policy‘ which ensures that the centrally contracted female cricketers earn equal wages as their male counterparts. Reportedly, the BCCI could soon follow up with yet another piece of welcoming news and their time around for its female umpires.

BCCI to allow female umpires to officiate during the upcoming Ranji Trophy 2022. PC: ICC
BCCI to allow female umpires to officiate during the upcoming Ranji Trophy 2022. PC: ICC


The umpires trio of, Vrinda Rathi, Janani Narayanan, and Gayathri Venugopalan are understood to have been roped in by the BCCI to officiate on-field in the upcoming edition of the Ranji Trophy. The trio is most likely to first feature during Round 2 of the tournament following their absence from the first leg since they will be busy officiating in the upcoming, 5-match, India-Australia women’s Twenty20 International (T20I) series.

A BCCI official told The Indian Express, “Going ahead, women umpires will be getting to do Ranji Trophy games. This is just a start. The BCCI has decided to give them the opportunity in the men’s game, too.”

Know the historic trio :

Vrinda Rathi –

The 33-year-old represented Mumbai University as a medium pacer and it was her coach, Surekha Bhandare, who insistent players for their overall development of the game should also know the fundamentals of cricket laws and keeping scores. She passed the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA’s) scoring examination in 2008 and then in 2010 after a couple of attempts successfully cleared the BCCI’s scoring examination that’s specifically conducted for women scorers.

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Vrinda Rathi has officiated 19 T20I games so far of which she served as the on-field umpire in 16 of those and as the television umpire in the remaining 3 and previously is learned to have officiated in the Under-23 boys’ CK Nayudu Trophy games.

Janani Narayanan –

The 37-year-old loves every aspect of the game and always was passionate about being an on-field umpire and so much so that she quit her IT position after cracking the BCCI’s Level 2 umpiring exam in 2018. Janani, back in 2009 and 2012 had contacted the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association (TNCA) for an application form to work as an umpire and she then finally received the form in 2015 following the state association revising its policies and limitations.

Like Vrinda Rathi, Janani Narayanan too officiated in the Under-23 boys’ CK Nayudu Trophy games and internationally has officiated in a couple of One-Day Internationals (ODI’s) and 11 T20I’s as an on-field umpire. A highlight in her umpiring career has got to be her officiating in the Tamil Nadu Premier League (TNPL) which wasn’t too long ago.

Gayathri Venugopalan –

The former university-level cricketer tried to take up playing professional cricket but after only a few years she when sustained an injury to her shoulder, and the professional option was shut. She then took up umpiring many years post the injury and finally managed to get through as a BCCI Accredited Cricket Umpire in 2019. In her time away, she had a corporate career that she gave up and underwent a decade-long hard grind of umpiring.

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Gayathri Venugopalan has officiated 10 T20I games of which 6 were as an on-field umpire and the remaining 4 were as a television umpire. Post-featuring in the 8th edition of the Women’s Asia Cup, she in the lead-up to India vs Australia series is officiating Under-19 India vs New Zealand women’s series.

BCCI Secretary, Mr. Jay Shah, who also is the Asian Cricket Council’s (ACC’s) President, before the start of the 8th edition of the Women’s Asia Cup made efforts in empowering women umpires in cricket by announcing an all-female presence in the playing field for the first time in an ACC event which saw likes of Gayathri Venugopalan and Vrinda Rathi as part of the umpiring bunch in the event. The Legends League Cricket (LLC) too had seen female umpires officiating, so the BCCI slowly, but timely has jumped on the change.

(Quote sourced from Devendra Pandey’s publication for the Indian Express)

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