India vs England: No Neutral umpires for first two tests
The International Cricket Council (ICC) has appointed the pair of Anil Chaudhary and Virender Sharma to stand alongside Nitin Menon in the first two Tests of the upcoming series between India and England, thus continuing the trend of home umpires officiating in Tests ever since the outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic.
According to a report in ESPN, Chaudhary will be the on-field umpire for the first Test beginning February 5 at the MA Chidambaram Stadium, with Sharma replacing him in the second beginning February 13.
C Shamshuddin, also part of the international panel, will be the third umpire for the first Test, and will be replaced by Chaudhary for the following match. Former India fast bowler Javagal Srinath will be the match referee for England’s entire tour, which also comprises five T20Is and three ODIs, the report further stated.
Menon, the only Indian official on the ICC’s Elite Panel, will be standing in his fourth Test, while for both Chaudhary and Sharma, it will be the maiden Test appearance.
The final two Tests will be played in Ahmedabad, including a day-night Test starting February 24 followed by the fourth and final Test from March 4.
The ICC, when in June last year international cricket resumed after the global lockdown because of the Covid-19 pandemic, had temporarily removed neutral umpires for all international formats owing to the “logistical challenges with international travel”.
However, recently, England’s Richard Illingworth was announced as a neutral on-field umpire for the two-match Test series between Bangladesh and West Indies. That too was necessitated as Bangladesh don’t have an umpire in the ICC’s Elite Panel and that’s why the ICC appointed Illingworth as the umpire for the match beginning February 3 at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium.