India's Nitin Menon has been included in the ICC Elite panel of umpires for the 2020-21 season after the annual review conducted by the game's governing body. At 36, Menon is one of the youngest to be included in the Elite panel. He was earlier part of the International panel and will replace England's Nigel Llong in the Elite roster.
A panel consisting of ICC general manager of cricket Geoff Allardice (chairman), former player Sanjay Manjrekar, and match referees Ranjan Madugalle and David Boon made the selection.
The ICC monitors umpires' standing through various parameters, including on-field decision-making, the number of reviews the match official has got right, and conduct on the field. Accordingly, points are tallied and umpires are ranked internally.
As per ESPNcricinfo's data, Llong has had the highest percentage (36.2%) of his reviewed decisions overturned in Tests since September 28, 2017.
Menon, who began his umpiring career in 2017, has officiated in three Tests, 24 ODIs and 16 T20Is in men's cricket. He has also stood in ten women's T20Is, including the 2018 and 2020 T20 World Cups. After S Venkataraghavan and S Ravi, he is the third umpire from India to make it to the Elite panel.
"It's a great honour and matter of pride for me to be named in the Elite panel," Menon said in an ICC release. "To be officiating regularly along with the leading umpires and referees of the world is something that I always dreamt of and the feeling has yet to sink in.
"Having already officiated in Tests, ODIs and T20Is as well as in ICC events, I understand the great responsibility that comes with the job. I also feel this is a responsibility on me to take Indian umpires forward and help them by sharing my experiences."
Adrian Griffith, the ICC's senior manager of umpires and referees, congratulated Menon, saying he "has come through our pathway system with very consistent performances".
Last year, England's Michael Gough and West Indies' Joel Wilson were promoted to the Elite panel, while Ravi was omitted from the list.
'Not surprised by Menon's selection' - Taufel
Taufel, who has worked extensively with Indian umpires, said he was not "surprised" by Menon's elevation. "I'm not surprised by his selection as his talent was evident some years ago," Taufel told ESPNcricinfo. "But again it shows that it takes many years to get to world-class, through commitment, dedication, resilience and a growth mindset. With Nitin joining the top group, a role model is there for many Indian umpires who aspire to be the best. Hopefully, it will encourage the BCCI to keep investing in their development programs for match officials."
ICC Elite panel of umpires: Aleem Dar, Kumar Dharmasena, Marais Erasmus, Chris Gaffaney, Michael Gough, Nitin Menon, Richard Illingworth, Richard Kettleborough, Bruce Oxenford, Paul Reiffel, Rod Tucker and Joel Wilson
ICC Elite panel of match referees: David Boon, Chris Broad, Jeff Crowe, Ranjan Madugalle, Andy Pycroft, Richie Richardson and Javagal Srinath