Javagal Srinath made his debut as the latest member of the Emirates Elite Panel of match referees on Thursday when he took charge of the Sri Lanka - South Africa Test series. Apart from the ongoing Test at Colombo's Sinhalese Sports Club, Srinath will also officiate in the second Test at the P Saravanamuttu Stadium beginning on August 4.
The post of the ICC Match Referee was instituted in the early 1990s in an attempt to clamp down on undue aggression and deteriorating behaviour on the field of play.
The ICC Match Referees are responsible for overseeing every Test match and ODI series and act as the independent representative of the ICC at all international matches, ensuring the ICC Code of Conduct for Players and Team Officials is upheld and administered.
The ICC followed it up with another move to reduce allegations of partisan umpiring. In 1994-95, they initiated the idea of a 'neutral' (third-country) umpire partnering a 'home' umpire in Test matches. Another significant step was taken in 2002 when the ICC decided to have two neutral umpires in all Tests and a home-neutral pair in ODIs.
Then there are various committees to run the game effectively and efficiently with past international players at the helm of the affairs.
For some strange reasons, Indians have never got ample opportunities in the ICC. Be it the representation in the Elite Panel of Umpires or Elite Panel of Referees or Chairmanship of various committees, Indians are somehow neglected for the top jobs.
There is no Indian in the Elite Panel of Umpires. There are three - K Hariharan, AV Jayaprakash and I Shivram - in the International Panel of Umpires, which means they are good enough to officiate in the 'home' ODIs but not good enough to stand in outside India.
One can buy ICC's theory that these officials haven't turned out to be as good as they should have been. But one fails to understand what stops ICC in involving more Indian players as Match Referees.
Before Javagal Srinath only five Indians have acted as ICC Match Referees and their appearances in Test matches total to only 32. Compare this figure with England (100), West Indies (121), South Africa (78), New Zealand (86), Australia (66) and you feel something is fishy.
In fact, even Sri Lanka is miles ahead of India on this account with 101 Tests shared by four players. All this despite the fact that almost 80% of the revenue of all cricket played across the globe comes from India alone!
5 Tests ( Nov 1992 – Dec 1993 ) & 8 ODIs ( Dec 1992 – Dec 1993 )
73 Tests ( Jan 1993 – Jan 2004 ) & 52 ODIs ( Jan 1993 – Oct 2003 )
1 Test ( Feb 1994 ) & 5 ODIs ( Feb 1994 – Mar 1994 )
Cricket Committee – Playing - 2000 – onwards
Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi
2 Tests ( June 1993 ) & 10 ODIs ( May 1993 – Mar 1996 )
9 Tests ( Dec 1996 – Nov 2001 ) & 54 ODIs ( Mar 1995 – Feb 2002 )
15 Tests ( Oct 1999 – Nov 2003 ) & 78 ODIs ( Mar 1999 – July 2004 )
1997 – 2000
26 Tests ( Jan 1985 – Nov 1999) & 43 ODIs ( Nov 1983 – Jan 2002)
13 Tests ( Dec 1997 – Mar 2002 ) & 38 ODIs ( Mar 1993 – April 2006 )
1 Test ( Jul 2006)