Umpires October 8, 2008

Suresh Shastri to umpire in South Africa

Cricinfo staff

Suresh Shastri will become the first umpire from India to officiate a South African first-class match when he stands in the SuperSport Series game between the Dolphins and the Lions, starting on Thursday in Durban.

The BCCI and Cricket South Africa (CSA) organised an umpires' exchange programme under which two umpires from India will officiate two first-class matches in South Africa's domestic competition while two South Africans will stand in Duleep Trophy games in India. CSA has a similar programme with New Zealand Cricket for the past 11 seasons.

"This programme will give us first-hand experience of the playing conditions in South Africa and vice-versa," Shastri, a member of the ICC's international panel, told the supercricket website. "So when the ICC asks us to [stand in] games in these countries, we will know what to expect." After the Durban game, Shastri will head to East London for the match between Warriors and Titans starting on October 16.

Brian Basson, CSA's general manager for cricket operations, said the board was confident the programme would assist participating countries in producing quality umpires for the future.