Four women umpires will officiate in the Women's World T20 Qualifier in Bangkok from November 28 to December 5. The ICC said in a release that New Zealand's Kathy Cross, Australia's Claire Polosak, England's Sue Redfern and West Indies' Jacqueline Williams have been picked for the tournament, in which Bangladesh, China, Ireland, Netherlands, Papua New Guinea, Scotland, Thailand and Zimbabwe's women teams will compete for two spots in the 2016 World T20.
Cross, the most experienced of the four, had become the first woman to be named in an ICC umpires' panel in 2014, having been added to the Associate and Affiliate panel. She umpired in the Women's World Cup in 2000, 2009 and 2013, the Women's World Cup Qualifier in 2011 and the Women's World T20 Qualifier in 2013.
Polosak is the youngest of the four at 27, and recently carried out the duties of third umpire in the Matador One-Day Cup, becoming the first woman to officiate in Australian List A cricket. Redfern has played cricket for England, bowling left-arm spin in six Tests and 15 ODI's from 1995 to 1999, after which she took up umpiring. Williams, who is from Jamaica, recently made her international debut, standing in the first ODI and T20 between West Indies Women and Pakistan Women in the Caribbean. She is set to become the first woman to officiate West Indies' first-class tournament, the WICB Regional Four-Day tournament, once she returns home from Thailand.
Cross said she was happy to finally get the opportunity to officiate with other women, a big step for women in the game. "Each tournament brings something new for women's cricket, and this latest development hopefully shows that the quality of [women's] umpiring is getting better and better, as the calibre of [women's] teams is certainly improving," Cross said. "I have enjoyed the experience of officiating in different parts of the world, but I have been alone, as a woman, in the middle for quite some time.
"So, it's great for all of us to have this opportunity in Thailand this week at such an important tournament. I think that the selection of four females can set down a pathway for more people to come through the system."
Also officiating in the tournament will be umpires Allan Haggo and Nigel Morrison, and match referee Graeme Labrooy.