Nine Australian umpires have been promoted to higher positions at international and domestic level following the release today of the Australian Cricket Board's (ACB) list of contracted officials for the next 12 months.
South Australia's Steve Davis and Queensland's Peter Parker, members of the ACB's National Panel last season, have been appointed to the International Cricket Council's (ICC) International Panel.
ICC International Panel members can officiate in one-day internationals around the world and provide cover for the ICC Elite Panel at peak times in the international calendar.
Davis and Parker were elevated to the ICC International Panel after Australian umpires Darrell Hair and Simon Taufel, members of the ICC International Panel last season, were elevated to the ICC's Elite Panel.
Hair and Taufel join South Australia's Daryl Harper on the 11-man Elite Panel to officiate in Test matches and one-day internationals. Victorian Bob Parry has been appointed as a nominated third umpire in international matches.
The elevation of Hair, Taufel, Davis and Parker to international positions opened the way for four other umpires to be promoted on the ACB's Umpire Panels for 2003-04.
Western Australia's Ian Lock, Queensland's Bruce Oxenford and South Australia's Simon Fry were rewarded for their strong performances in 2002-03, each moving up one level in the ACB's umpire panel structure.
Lock and Oxenford, members of the Supplementary Panel last season, were upgraded to the National Panel, while Fry advanced to the Supplementary Panel after serving on the Development Panel in 2002-03.
South Australian Kim Perrin was promoted to the ACB-contracted umpires list for the first time with his appointment to the Development Panel.
ACB Chief Executive Officer James Sutherland said the umpire promotions were recognition of the higher standard and development of Australian officials.
"In the past 12 months, the ACB has dedicated increased investment and resources into umpiring so that our officials receive the best training and education to help them develop and improve," said Mr Sutherland.
"This investment needs to be ongoing as the true test of measuring umpiring standards must be over the long term.
"Australia now has three representatives on the International Cricket Council's Elite Panels, which is a terrific result for Australian cricket.
"These elevations demonstrate that there is a career pathway for officials to follow.
"Promotions also open the way for other umpires to advance and gain experience. Umpires who have performed well deserve to be rewarded and elevated up the ACB's umpire panel structure."
The National Panel umpires will officiate in domestic matches and certain international fixtures such as Australia A games and tour matches.
The Supplementary Panel will umpire domestic matches. Development Panel umpires are eligible to stand in the Pura Cup, ING Cup and the national second XI competition, the ACB Cup.
The ACB-contracted umpires were selected by an ACB Umpiring Selection Panel, comprising former Test umpires Mel Johnson (Chairman) and Dick French and ACB Umpire Manager Geoff Allardice.
The selection panel will also be responsible for appointing umpires in Australian international fixtures and Pura Cup and ING Cup matches.
The 23 ACB-contracted umpires for 2003-04 are: