At the age of 36, India’s Nitin Menon has become the youngest Indian to be promoted to the ICC Elite Panel of Umpires. Currently the only Indian in the panel, he has been promoted for the 2020-21 season, following the annual review and selection process conducted by the International Cricket Council (ICC). He has replaced English umpire Nigel Llong in the roster.
Menon, who hails from Indore, made his Umpiring debut in Test Cricket in the Test match between Afghanistan and West Indies at Dehradun in November 2019. He is the third Indian to have been elected in the panel after Srinivas Venkataraghavan and Sundaram Ravi. He has officiated in three Tests, 24 ODIs and 16 T20Is so far. He has also officiated in two ICC Women’s T20 World Cups. His elevation comes on the back of his consistent performances in the ICC Panel of International Umpires, where he was first named in 2016.
A panel consisting of ICC general manager of cricket Geoff Allardice (chairman), former Indian Cricketer Sanjay Manjrekar, and match referees Ranjan Madugalle and David Boon made the selection.
Menon has had a short but significant domestic Cricket career as a player, representing Madhya Pradesh in age groups U-16, U-19, U-23 & List A matches from 1996 to 2004. At 22, he decided to follow the footsteps of his father Narendra, a former first first-class cricketer and an international umpire. He cleared the BCCI Umpiring exam in 2006 at the age of 23 years and started officiating in domestic matches from 2007-08 season. His hard work and zeal to improve every season has resulted in him making the cut and getting included in the most elite group.
Menon told BCCI.tv, “This is a dream come true for me. Ever since I decided to be an umpire after quitting active cricket at the age of 22, getting onto the ICC’s Elite Panel was my goal. I am very grateful to the BCCI & the ICC for all the opportunities given to me and the faith shown in me in these years. I am excited for the future and looking forward to put in my best performance.”
Menon continued, “We did not have any representation in the Elite Panel for a while. I now want to keep the Indian flag flying high. I hope to see more umpires from India at the top level. I see this as an opportunity and a big responsibility to take Indian Umpires forward and guide them in every possible way by sharing my experiences.”
He also expressed his gratitude towards his family and ICC’s Umpire Coach Denis Burns. “Finally, I would like to thank my family for all the sacrifices and their support over the years. I am very grateful to Mr. Denis Burns for all his guidance and support in my career as an International Umpire,” he concluded.