Dubai: Ending an 11-year wait, Sundaram Ravi on Thursday became the first Indian after S Venkataraghvan to be inducted in the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Elite Panel of Umpires following an annual review and selection process.
New Zealand's Chris Gaffaney and Ravi were promoted from the International Panel of Umpires to the Elite Panel, replacing Kiwi veteran Billy Bowden and the retiring Steve Davis, stated an ICC media release.
The Elite Panel of Umpires for 2015-2016 will be: Aleem Dar, Kumar Dharmasena, Marais Erasmus, Chris Gaffaney, Ian Gould, Richard Illingworth, Richard Kettleborough, Nigel Llong, Sundaram 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 Emirates Elite Panel of ICC Umpires and thank the BCCI for its support and the ICC for providing this opportunity," the 49-year-old Indian said.
"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," he added.
Both Ravi and Gaffaney umpired in the World Cup earlier this year in Australia and New Zealand.
Gaffaney, who officiated in his first first-class match in 2005, made his international umpiring debut in Toronto in September 2010 in an ODI between Canada and Ireland, and has to date umpired in two Tests, 41 ODIs and 15 T20Is.
ICC General Manager - Cricket, Geoff Allardice, congratulated Gaffaney and Ravi on their elevation. "Their promotion is a testament to their hard work, as well as good decision-making and man-management skills over a period of time on the international panel.
"The ICC Umpire Selectors are confident that these two umpires will acquit themselves well at the top level, and that their selection will encourage umpires from all countries to aspire to elite panel selection if they are prepared to
demonstrate the required ability, commitment and teamwork."
BCCI secretary Anurag Thakur also congratulated Ravi on social media and hailed India's umpiring standards. "Congratulations to S.Ravi fr getting promoted to @ICC elite panel of umpires.Well deserved! Hope to see many more Indian umpires thr," he tweeted.
"@bcci is working to make Indian umpires world class.We've got gr8 talent & results hv startd to come.Ravi will be
followed by many others."