The ICC has announced an unchanged elite panel of umpires for the coming season. They are: Billy Bowden, Steve Bucknor, Aleem Dar, Darrell Hair, Daryl Harper, Rudi Koertzen, David Shepherd (contracted until 31 July 2005) and Simon Taufel.
Malcolm Speed, the ICC's chief executive, highlighted the positive progress that the top umpires had made over the last year. "Cricket umpires have perhaps the hardest job in international sport but over the last 12 months the members of the panel have been a credit to their profession," he said. "During this period they have consistently averaged a success rate of over 94 per cent in their decision making. Over the next 12 months we look forward to continuing to work with all of these officials to maintain and improve this aspect of the game."
The panel of referees showed one change, with Gundappa Viswanathm whose contract ends after three years, stepping down. The following officials all remained: Chris Broad, Jeff Crowe, Alan Hurst, Clive Lloyd, Ranjan Madugalle, Roshan Mahanama and Mike Procter. The ICC believes the optimum number of matches an umpire should stand in a year is 13 Tests and 14 ODIs.
The full panel will be supported again by the members of the international panel, which are appointed by the home boards. They stand with members of the elite panel in ODIs. It is estimated that the umpires from the international panel will be used by the ICC for around 13 Tests and 17 ODIs over the next year. The appointments will be allocated to the better performing panel umpires.
The Emirates International Panel of Umpires is currently as follows: