Sundaram Ravi, India’s sole representative in the ICC Elite Panel of Umpires, is set to be removed soon, it is learnt, reported Indian newspaper Hindustan Times.
The decision was taken at the ICC Umpires Committee meeting on April 24 even while he was chosen as one of the 16 umpires to do duty at the World Cup, starting in the UK on May 30.
Ravi was promoted to the Elite panel in June 2015, ending India’s 11-year wait for an umpire in the top panel, since S Venkatraghavan retired in 2004. He is set to be dropped when the new panel is announced post the World Cup.
The decision, yet to be officially out, follows the similar disappointment faced by India last year after C Shamshuddin was ejected from the ICC Emerging Panel, the second rung as part of the feeder system for the top panel. The ICC is, in fact, planning to remove the Emerging Panel itself as it doesn’t allow the global body to look beyond the six umpires in it.
“The Elite panel is a tough place to survive with so much competition and high-pressure, top-level games. Ravi was lying at the bottom in the report card prepared over the last couple of years for the 12 elite level umpires,” said an official aware of the development.
The 53-year-old was under fire during an IPL match between Royal Challengers Bangalore and Mumbai Indians after he failed to spot a no-ball from Lasith Malinga. It was the last ball of the match with RCB needing seven to win. RCB captain Virat Kohli blasted the umpire. “We are playing IPL level, not club cricket. That’s a ridiculous call off the last ball. The umpires should have their eyes open, it was a no-ball by an inch.”
The howler came after some poor decision-making in international cricket saw him lose points. “The ICC has a proper system in place which evaluates an umpire’s performance throughout the year,” said the official.
None from the umpiring community was willing to comment. Former India batsman, Sanjay Manjrekar, who attended the umpire’s committee meeting, also did not comment.