Gould, Hill join world's elite umpires

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Dubai, Mar.23 (ANI): The International Cricket Council (ICC) today announced that umpires Tony Hill and Ian Gould have been added to the Emirates Elite Panel of ICC Umpires following the annual review and selection process.

An ICC press release said that the two umpires, who have been serving on the Emirates International Panel of ICC Umpires, have been elevated to the top level by the ICC Umpires Selection Panel made up of David Richardson, ICC's General Manager - Cricket, ICC Chief Match Referee Ranjan Madugalle, ex-England player, coach and former first-class umpire David Lloyd and Srinivasaraghavan Venkataraghavan, the former India captain and international umpire.

With the imminent retirement of Steve Bucknor coupled with last year's retirement of Darrell Hair the number on the elite panel will be back up to 12.

In addition, four other umpires from the Emirates International Panel of ICC Umpires - Marais Erasmus (South Africa), Rodney Tucker (Australia), Amish Saheba (India) and Nigel Llong (England and Wales) - have been identified for overseas appointments in addition to umpiring international fixtures taking place in their own countries.

"We are delighted to confirm the promotion of both Ian and Tony to the Emirates Elite Panel of ICC Umpires," said Richardson.

"Their promotions are a result of perseverance, hard work and commitment and I am sure these two umpires will serve as an inspiration to the other Emirates International Panel umpires who are striving hard to break into the top flight.

"Apart from their sound decision-making, we have been particularly impressed with Ian and Tony's team-work and ability to handle pressure when they have been given opportunities to umpire Test and high-level ODI cricket.

"They both enjoy a good rapport with players and have earned a lot of respect in their international careers to date. We are confident they will be able to make the step up to the elite level," he said.

Following the appointment, Gould said: "I am delighted to have been selected on to the elite panel. I believe that having played cricket at a high level for 21 years I understand the game from the players' point of view and that I bring that empathy out in my umpiring. Although it's a very different challenge to playing the game, being an umpire is enormously rewarding and a great way to stay involved."

Hill added: "I am thrilled by this appointment. For me, umpiring is all about teamwork and so to be part of such a great team as the Emirates Elite Panel is huge for me. I am looking forward to continuing to work hard and repaying the faith the ICC has shown in me."

Meanwhile in a separate appointment, former Zimbabwe Test batsman Andy Pycroft has been added to the Emirates Elite Panel of ICC Match Referees bringing the total number of referees on the Elite Panel to seven.

ICC Chief Executive Haroon Lorgat said: "Andy is a real cricket man with a remarkably diverse background within the game. At the highest level, he has been a player, team manager, selector and broadcaster so that, coupled with his legal background, makes him an excellent addition to the elite referees' panel.

Pycroft said: "I am fortunate that I have been involved in cricket for many years and in many different capacities. Whether as a player, coach, administrator or commentator I have always tried to be fair and respect the game. I am looking forward to this new challenge and I will be doing my very best to apply that range of skills effectively." (ANI)

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