India's Nitin Menon becomes the youngest ICC Elite Panel Umpire

India umpire Nitin Menon inducted in ICC Elite Panel

"To be officiating regularly along with the leading umpires and referees of the world is something that I always dreamt of and the feeling has yet to sink in", Menon was quoted as saying in an ICC statement.

India's Nitin Menon on Monday became the youngest member to be included in the International Cricket Council (ICC)'s elite panel of umpires, replacing England's Nigel Llong for the 2020-21 season after an annual review.

In addition to that, he has had World Cup experience of having stood in the 2018 and 2020 editions of the ICC Women's T20 World Cup.

Menon had earlier told Deccan Herald that the ICC's latest move to chose to do away with the requirement to appoint neutral match officials owing to the current logistical challenges with worldwide travel was a great opportunity for Indian umpires.

Menon, 36, who made his global umpiring debut during the India and England T20I in Kanpur in2017, has also become the youngest umpire to feature in the Elite Panel. While standard of Indian umpiring has copped a lot of criticism globally, performance of Menon over the past few years has been a silver lining.

A panel consisting of ICC general manager of cricket Geoff Allardice (chairman), former player Sanjay Manjrekar, and match referees Ranjan Madugalle and David Boon made the selection. Menon quit playing competitive cricket at 22 and by 23, he had become a senior umpire, officiating in BCCI accredited matches.

His father, Narendra, was also an global umpire and a First Class cricketer. "I also feel this is a responsibility on me to take Indian umpires forward and help them by sharing my experiences." he added.

Nitin, who made two List A appearances for Madhya Pradesh in the zonal one-dayers in 2004, joins S. Venkataraghavan and S. Ravi in the club of Indians who have made it to the Elite Panel. "Finally, I would like to thank my family for all the sacrifices and their support over the years".

If Menon continues in the manner that has carried him this far, he could be staring at a lengthy stint at the highest level, but, although confident, he is wary of getting carried away.

He will also be a potential candidate to stand for the five-match Test series between India and England, slated for next year.

He has also been the TV Umpire in 12 internationals, taking the overall tally to 53. Ever since I chose to be an umpire after quitting active cricket at the age of 22, getting onto the ICC's Elite Panel was my goal.

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