India's Sundaram Ravi was on Thursday inducted into the Elite Panel of International Cricket Council (ICC) Umpires for 2015-2016, commencing from July 1, 2015, following the annual review and selection process.
New Zealand's Chris Gaffaney and Ravi were promoted from the International Panel to the Elite Panel. They replaced Kiwi Billy Bowden and the retiring Steve Davis, the ICC said.
"Chris Gaffaney and Sundaram Ravi have been promoted from the Emirates International Panel of ICC Umpires to the Emirates Elite Panel of ICC Umpires where they have replaced Billy Bowden and the retiring Steve Davis," said the release.
The Elite Panel of ICC Umpires for 2015-2016 would now feature Aleem Dar, Kumar Dharmasena, Marais Erasmus, Gaffaney, Ian Gould, Richard Illingworth, Richard Kettleborough, Nigel Llong, Ravi, Paul Reiffel, Rod Tucker and Bruce Oxenford.
Ravi has umpired in six Tests, 24 ODIs and 12 T20Is, since making his international debut in Visakhapatnam in December 2011 in an ODI between India and the West Indies.
"I feel honoured and privileged to be selected for the Elite Panel of ICC Umpires and thank the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) for its support and the ICC for providing this opportunity," said Ravi.
"I have always enjoyed the company of those umpires already on the elite panel and now I have the chance to work with them all on a more regular basis. I am really looking forward to the challenges ahead and aim to maintain a high standard of umpiring," Ravi added.
BCCI also congratulated Ravi on his promotion.
Gaffaney, who officiated in his first first-class match in 2005, made his international umpiring debut in Toronto in September 2010 in an One Day-International between Canada and Ireland, and has to date umpired in two Tests, 41 ODIs and 15 T20Is.
Both the officials also umpired in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 earlier this year in Australia and New Zealand.
Gaffaney, who also played 83 first-class matches as an Otago opener, was delighted with the news. "I am thrilled to be promoted to the elite panel as it has to be the aim of every umpire to be appointed to this select group.
"I have a number of people to thank, especially those who have assisted from the very beginning of my umpire career, and will be doing this individually in due course," the 39-year-old concluded.