Mumbai’s Vrinda Rathi creates history by becoming India’s first ever national woman umpire
Cricketer turned umpire, Vrinda Rathi was inspired by New Zealand’s Kathy Cross who officiated during her 2013 World Cup final against New Zealand.
Mumbai-based cricketer Vrinda Rathi is all set to become the first national woman umpire from India. Traditionally a male-dominated sport, the country’s most favoured game is now welcoming more and more women onto the field.
Cricketer turned umpire, 29-year-old Vrinda came second in BCCI’S Level 2 umpiring exam for match referees. Along with her was Chennai-based N Janani, and the two will now be able to officiate men’s first-class matches, reports Mid-Day.
It all started when Vrinda cleared the umpiring examination of Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) in 2014. The same year, she officiated an inter-school match between Harris and Gelis Shield schools in Mumbai.
She was inspired to shift from playing to umpiring after witnessing New Zealand’s woman umpire Kathy Cross during the finals of the 2013’s Women’s World Cup. Vrinda says that she was encouraged by Kathy’s career path into becoming an umpire.
To achieve her aim, she began officiating several matches over weekends to get a grip on umpiring skills, reports The Quint.
In a conversation with Mid-Day on officiating Ranji Trophies, she says, “Only the top 40 umpires in India can do that. But yes, I would love to officiate international games. If I get a chance, I'll do well. I know it will take several years but would like to achieve that.”
To date, she has officiated lower division games of Dr. H D Kanga Cricket League and a Police Shield match between PJ Hindu Gymkhana and Bombay Gymkhana held at Marine Drive. However, she was not the only woman umpire at these matches as Sujit Nakhare officiated a few of them as well.
Talking about the intense pressure on the field, she says, “The pressure is very high. You have to be on your toes all the time; you cannot relax for a moment. One requires stamina and a lot of fitness. So, umpiring is a tough job.”