In a significant development, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has introduced the A plus category for umpires during the recently concluded Apex Council meeting on Thursday. ICC Elite Panel member Nitin Menon and four other international umpires Anil Chaudhary, Madangopal Jayaraman, Virender Kumar Sharma and KN Ananthapadmabhnan have been included in the category.
The proposal to introduce the A plus category was tabled in the Apex Council meeting following the work done by former international umpires K Haariharan, Sudhir Anani, and Amiesh Saheba and members of the BCCI umpires’ sub-committee.
Reports have suggested that umpires in the A plus and A categories are paid Rs. 40,000/day for a first-class game, while Rs, 30,000/day are paid in the B and C category. Notably, twenty umpires including C Shamshuddin form the A Group, 60 are in Group B, 46 in Group C and eleven in Group D which falls in the 60-65 age bracket.
The proposal for the A plus category was presented as ‘gradation of umpires,’ but a BCCI official clarified that the board has itself created the category. “It is not grading. These are groups with A plus being the new category. A plus and A, constitute the cream of Indian umpires. Umpires B and C category are also good,” an official was quoted in a TOI report.
The official further informed that in assigning duties across domestic events starting at the top with Ranji Trophy, preference is always given group-wise. “The grouping has been done after reviewing the performance of the 2021-22 season,” added the official.
Notably, the Board of Cricket for Control of India has not added to its umpires’ list since 2018. Notably, Nitin Menon is the only Indian umpire part of the elite panel. In response to Indian umpires graduating to the highest level, the BCCI official added the focus should be on improving the quality of umpires at every level.