Rod Tucker, the former Tasmania and New South Wales player, has become the first umpire to be promoted from Cricket Australia's project group to the international panel. While Tucker's appointment is in the smaller role of a television official, it is a big step for the former allrounder, who is part of a production line of retired first-class performers who have switched from whites to black-and-whites.
There is no place on the national panel for Dave Orchard, the former South African official, who stood in 44 Tests and 107 one-day internationals. Last season Orchard, whose final Test was in 2004, was used as a mentor for younger umpires, but he has been dropped and his only duties will be with Queensland Cricket. Orchard has told the state's officials he is not retired and wants to keep going, and they say he rated highly in the end-of-season appraisals.
A Cricket Australia spokesman said there were umpires with better claims to a position than Orchard. "The selectors assessed that the panel had sufficient experience to assist in the development of the less experienced umpires and that the new additions deserved their opportunity," he said. "It's also the ICC's intention for Cricket Australia to have more access to the Australians on the ICC elite panel over the summer to help out the younger umpires."
Tucker's place was created by Steve Davis' rise in April to the ICC's expanded elite group, which also includes Simon Taufel, Daryl Harper and Darrell Hair. "Rod's nomination to the international umpires' panel and the promotion of Mick Martell and Tony Ward to the national panel illustrates the successes of Cricket Australia's umpiring pathway," Michael Brown, Cricket Australia's general manager of cricket, said.
Martell and Ward are joined on the national list by fellow newcomer Andrew Craig while Tim Laycock has been cut alongside Orchard. Laycock has been given an assignment during the Emerging Players' Tournament in Queensland next month, but Orchard, who stood in the series last year, has missed out on that too.
Australians on the ICC's elite panel
Steve Davis (SA), Darrell Hair (NSW), Daryl Harper (SA), Simon Taufel (NSW).
Cricket Australia's international panel
Peter Parker (Qld), Bruce Oxenford (Qld), Rod Tucker (TV umpire, NSW).
National umpires' panel
Jeff Brookes (WA), Andrew Craig (WA), Simon Fry (SA), Ian Lock (WA), Mick Martell (WA), Bruce Oxenford (Qld), Peter Parker (Qld), Bob Parry (Vic), Paul Reiffel (Vic), Rod Tucker (NSW), John Ward (VIC), Tony Ward (Vic).