Australian Cricket Board (ACB) Chief Executive Officer James Sutherland today announced that 16 umpires have been added to the list of ACB-contracted officials for the next 12 months.
The 24 ACB-contracted umpires are part of a re-vamped structure, which sees the new Development Panel complement the existing National and Supplementary Panels.
The umpires for 2002-03 are:
For the first time, umpires were selected by an ACB Umpiring Selection Panel, comprising former Test umpires Mel Johnson (Chairman) and Dick French and ACB Umpires Manager Geoff Allardice.
The selection panel will also be responsible for appointing umpires in Australian international fixtures and Pura Cup and ING Cup matches.
Mr Sutherland said the appointments and changes to Australia's umpiring system were designed to improve the overall standard and development of officials.
"Umpiring has progressed significantly in the past six months as part of changes made by the International Cricket Council (ICC) in assembling an Elite Umpires Panel," Mr Sutherland said.
"With umpiring being such a critical component of the game, it is clear that an increased investment was needed in this area.
"Creating a larger group of umpires will allow us to develop more umpires capable of adjudicating at the highest level. It will also demonstrate that people can still play a crucial part in the game, even if it is not as a player," he said.
The National Panel umpires were identified as the most capable to gain a place on the new International Cricket Council Elite Panel. South Australia's Daryl Harper currently holds a position on this panel. The National Panel umpires will officiate in domestic matches and certain international fixtures.
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 umpires will be supported by a coach in each state who will provide skill, fitness and performance reviews between match duties.
This process will involve umpires practising decisions in simulated match conditions, reaching appropriate fitness levels and reviewing their performance through a comprehensive video analysis system.
Four Australian umpires will officiate in international matches this season. Daryl Harper will represent the ICC on its eight-man Elite Panel, standing in Test matches and one-day internationals around the world. Darrell Hair and Simon Taufel, both appointed to the ICC's International Panel of umpires, can officiate in one-day internationals and also provide cover for the Elite Panel at peak times in the Test match calendar. Steve Davis can be appointed as a nominated third umpire.