Women umpires grace Women's T20 Challenge for the first time
For the first time in the history of Women's T20 Challenge, female umpires Vrinda Rathi and N. Janani are officiating a match, while GS Lakshmi was the match referee, in a welcome sight for Indian cricket.
In a welcome sight, the Women's T20 Challenge began with the Supernovas Women and Trailblazers at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Pune and saw for the first time in this tournament's history, women umpires officiating the match.
Umpires N. Janani and Vrinda Rathi are present on-field for the opening match of the Women's T20 Challenge, which has turned out to be quite dramatic with some solid level of batting and bowling action. The match referee is GS Lakshmi - who even acted as the referee for the Women's Cricket World Cup Final between Australia and England.
Notably, veteran umpire coach Denis Burns had praised the two lady umpires on their inclusion in the ICC Development Panel in 2020 and said, "I think Janani and Vrinda represent the 'new wave' of female umpires in India," indicating their efficiency.
Interestingly, the Women's T20 Challenge, which is only in its fourth edition, was started after the Indian women's cricket team finished as the runners-up at the 2017 Women's Cricket World Cup, urging the start of a tournament like the IPL for the women, as well.
There have been three previous editions so far - 2018, 2019, 2020 and after the pandemic, the Women's T20 Challenge has made a return for the fourth time and since then, things clearly have changed as we are now getting to see women umpires officiating a match, a sight that was pretty uncommon in Indian cricket.