South Central Railway employee first woman on ICC's panel of referees

By Express News Service

VIJAYAWADA: It must have been a very proud moment for GS Lakshmi, Chief Office Superintendent in the Public Relations Department of South Central Railway (SCR), when she recently became the first woman to be appointed to the International Cricket Council (ICC) Panel of Match Referees.

Speaking to TNIE on Wednesday, 51-year-old Lakshmi expressed her gratitude to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) for nominating her to the panel, at a time when the board is focussed on promoting involvement of women as match referees. When asked about if she was aware about the first match she would be refereeing, Lakshmi said, “Getting nominated to the ICC panel itself is  a huge achievement. I am eagerly awaiting for the chance to referee an international match. This will inspire more women cricketers to become referees post retirement.”

Born in Rajamahendravaram, she began her career in cricket in Bihar, where her father worked for Tata Engineering and Locomotive Company (Telco). ‘’I was the captain of the South Zone and secured a place in the Indian Railways’ team before making it to the national team. Unfortunately, I could not make it to the final 11 due to age factor and stiff competition,” Lakshmi said.

She joined the Railways in 1989 under sports quota and represented the South Central Railway (SCR).
“In my cricketing journey, I went on to play for Indian Railways before getting selected to the Indian Women’s Team when it toured England in 1999. After retiring from active cricket in 2004, I accepted coaching assignments with the Hyderabad Cricket Association (HCA) and the SCR. I was also a member of the HCA’s women selection committee, south zone.”

“When the BCCI introduced the concept of women match referees in 2008-09, I was one among the five cricketers who wanted in. In 2014, I cleared a match referee examination conducted by the board. Between 2012 and 2018, I also officiated as match manager under remote match referee Graeme LaBrooy when India played against Australia and Sri Lanka,” she said.

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