The Ashes 2006-07 August 26, 2006

Umpires from Australia and England for the Ashes?

Cricinfo staff



Simon Taufel: in line for an Ashes Test later this year? © Getty Images
The Australian board has suggested that umpires from England and Australia be allowed to stand during this year's Ashes series. The ICC rules stipulate that all Test matches should have third-country umpires, but the Australians believe that the quality of decision-making will be better if the umpires from the two countries are part of the panel.

According to The Age, though a formal request hasn't yet been placed, Cricket Australia directors have been exploring the option with the ICC. Peter Young, a spokesman for Cricket Australia, said that a contest between the two best teams in the world should have the best officials as well. "It's one of those issues that is frequently discussed socially. Australia and England are the two top-ranked sides in the world, and by chance the top-ranked umpires in the world ... won't be able to umpire in that series.

"In a perfect world, it would be great for a series that will not only determine who wins the Ashes but could decide the world No. 1 ranking to be officiated by the world's top-ranked umpires." Australia's Simon Taufel is regarded as the best umpire in the world at the moment, while England's Mark Benson - their only representative in the Elite Panel - is highly rated as well. Daryl Harper and the controversial Darrell Hair are the two other Australian umpires currently in the Elite Panel.