Five umpires have been added to the newly-established Professional Umpires’ Team who will officiate in men’s and women’s matches across England and Wales.
Naeem Ashraf, Anthony Harris, Sue Redfern, Surendiran Shanmugam and Jack Shantry join the new 34-person Professional Umpires’ Team, which has been established following an independent review into officiating carried out last year.
The independent review sought to understand how the ECB can continue to best attract, appoint, develop, performance manage and evaluate match officials from all backgrounds.
One of the key recommendations was to create a single pool of umpires to replace the previous system which saw a First-Class Panel of umpires, backed up by a part-time Reserve Panel.
Members of the Professional Umpires’ Team are available to stand in women’s professional cricket (Women’s Regional competitions and The Hundred) and men’s professional cricket (County Second XI, Royal London Cup, Vitality Blast, The Hundred and LV= Insurance County Championship).
All members of the Professional Umpires’ Team will now have the support to allow them to concentrate solely on umpiring as a career.
Redfern, currently in New Zealand where she is officiating at the ICC Women’s World Cup, will continue to be available to officiate women’s international cricket in addition to the opportunities her appointment to the Professional Umpires’ Team will provide.
The five appointments are all promoted from the National Panel of umpires and showcase the value of a clear pathway into professional ranks.
Former Worcestershire left-armer Shantry (Shropshire) has developed as an umpire in recreational cricket following his retirement as a player in 2017 and joins former Pakistan international Ashraf (Lancashire), Harris (Shropshire) and Shanmugam (Northamptonshire) who, like Redfern (Staffordshire), have been appointed following a recruitment process overseen by the new diverse Officiating Oversight Panel.
Their appointments come following the retirements of Jeff Evans (2019), Jeremy Lloyds (2019), Ian Gould (2021) and Ian Ramage (2021) and ensure a full list of umpires for the new season.
ECB Managing Director of County Cricket, Neil Snowball, said: "The appointment of these five umpires is richly deserved for their consistently high performances over recent times.
"The ECB has a long history of developing some of the best match officials in the world and we are at a point, after the independent review into Officiating last year, where we have opportunity to drive change to be better.
"We are making good progress on that journey and these appointments are important steps as we establish a clearer and fairer pathway for anyone who wants to be an umpire.
"Additionally, we are close to finalising further contracts for a group of female umpires so they can be better supported from both a performance and financial perspective.
"I would also like to express my thanks and gratitude to Jeff Evans, Jeremy Lloyds, Ian Gould and Ian Ramage who retired from umpiring during the pandemic. Their service to the game has been significant."