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Tony Hill has stepped down from the ICC elite panel of umpires to take up the role of New Zealand Cricket umpire coach. He will begin his new role in March this year.
Hill, 62, ends a 15-year international umpiring career, having officiated in 40 Tests, 96 ODIs and 17 Twenty20 internationals. He was promoted to the elite panel in 2009 after serving on the international panel for 11 years.
Hill came into umpiring without any background in first-class cricket and made his international debut with an ODI between New Zealand and Zimbabwe in Napier in March 1998. He stood in the World Cups in 2007 and 2011, the Champions Trophies in 2009 and 2013, and the World Twenty20s in 2007, 2009, 2010 and 2012. His final appointment was as third umpire in the fifth Ashes Test in Sydney.
Hill's new position will focus mainly around managing recruitment and retention processes for amateur umpires, talent identification of potential professional umpires and the coaching of New Zealand's elite umpires.
Hill said he would treasure his time as an umpire. "It has been so special officiating internationally among great players alongside the finest umpires in the world," Hill said. "What a privilege! I have thoroughly enjoyed my time with the ICC and feel privileged to have been part of the system at a time when umpiring transformed to what it is today.
"I would like to offer my special thanks and appreciation to my family, colleagues in the playing control team and all those who I have worked with for supporting me throughout my time with the ICC.
"This wonderful opportunity as NZC umpire coach enables me to continue to be part of this marvellous match-official community and work with the aspiring umpires throughout New Zealand. What a challenge and one I look forward to."
Vince van der Bijl, the ICC umpires and referees manager, said: "Tony has given sterling service to the game over many years and his humour, commitment and selfless approach will be sorely missed. He loves cricket and officiating, so we are delighted that in his new role he will continue to serve the game and help New Zealand continue to produce top-level umpires into the future.
"Many thanks Tony for playing such an important role in the period of transformation within the match-official community and for your contribution to each of us."
Rodger McHarg, the NZC national umpiring manager, said Hill's involvement would be helpful in developing upcoming umpires in New Zealand. "Tony's been a highly respected umpire for a number of years and we're incredibly pleased to secure the services of someone with his knowledge and expertise," McHarg said. "The demand for quality umpires in our game is ever increasing and we're dedicated to providing top-level officiating at all levels of the game. We believe Tony will be instrumental in helping us to continue to raise that bar.
"He's been a great example of what can be achieved on the international stage and with his involvement we're confident that we can continue to produce world-class umpires."