Sue Redfern will become the first woman to officiate in an England men’s home international match after being appointed as fourth umpire for Wednesday’s first T20I against Sri Lanka in Cardiff.
Alex Wharf had been due to fill the role, but Redfern was placed on standby in the event that the reserve day was activated in the World Test Championship final in Southampton. With persistent bad weather forcing the game into a sixth day, Redfern will now step in for the first of three T20Is between England and Sri Lanka.
“It’s going to be a great experience,” Redfern told ESPNcricinfo. “I’m feeling pretty privileged. It’s unexpected but at the same time, it’s a great opportunity to showcase that females can officiate in a variety of environments.”
Redfern is a regular on-field umpire on the women’s international circuit and stood in last week’s Test between England and India in Bristol.
A former England player, Redfern was an on-field umpire in a World Cricket League Division Five match between Oman and Nigeria in 2016. With West Indies-based umpire Jacqueline Williams acting as third umpire in the same match, it was the first time two women had officiated in a men’s ICC tournament fixture.
“What the players are looking for is, they’re really not bothered about whether I’m male or female, they just want me to do my job,” Redfern said. “That’s the most important thing, how I manage that game and how I umpire in that game.
“I’ve had a good day if I’m not seen really and if I’m not spoken about, so just managing that game to ensure that it comes to a positive conclusion.”
Redfern’s appointment comes after Australian Claire Polosak became the first woman to officiate in a men’s Test when she was the fourth umpire for the third Test between Australia and India at the SCG in January.
And Redfern said that she supports women officiating in men’s matches becoming a normal occurrence.
“I pinch myself every time I wake up and know I’m going to be umpiring. I absolutely love it.”
“I’d like to see any official, whatever their aspirations are, that they can fulfil those aspirations if they’re good enough,” she said. “What we’re looking for is people with the right skills officiating in the right games.
“It’s important to show people that you can be an official, whether it be male or female, in an environment you want to officiate in. There are lots of female officials in England and across the world who are umpiring in male environments – and why not?
“The more we showcase females in different roles across cricket, the more it becomes normal, and that’s important because it grows our game and it shows that you can do anything in this game.”
Last month, Anna Harris and Yvonne Dolphin-Cooper stood together as on-field umpires in men’s matches in the England Premier League and the South Wales Premier League, which were believed to be the first instances of two women officiating in ECB Premier League matches.
Courtesy: https://www.espncricinfo.com/ by : Valkerie Baynes