Gould and Hill join ICC elite

Tony Hill and Ian Gould have been added to the ICC's elite panel of umpires following the annual review and selection process.

The addition of the pair, who have been serving on the international panel, brings the total back up to 12 with the imminent retirement of Steve Bucknor coupled with last year's retirement of Darrell Hair.

In addition, four other umpires from the international panel - Marais Erasmus (South Africa), Rodney Tucker (Australia), Amish Saheba (India) and Nigel Llong (England) - have been identified for overseas appointments in addition to umpiring international fixtures taking place in their own countries.

"We are delighted to confirm the promotion of both Ian and Tony," said Dave Richardson, the ICC's general manager - cricket. "Their promotions are a result of perseverance, hard work and commitment and I am sure these two umpires will serve as an inspiration to the other international panel umpires who are striving hard to break into the top flight."

"I believe that having played cricket at a high level for 21 years I understand the game from the players' point of view and that I bring that empathy out in my umpiring," Gould said. "Although it's a very different challenge to playing the game, being an umpire is enormously rewarding and a great way to stay involved."

Meanwhile in a separate appointment, former Zimbabwe Test batsman Andy Pycroft has been added to the panel of ICC Match Referees bringing the total number of referees to seven.