Anything possible for female umps: ICC

Australian Claire Polosak last year made history as the first woman to umpire a men's ODI.
Australian Claire Polosak last year made history as the first woman to umpire a men's ODI.

The International Cricket Council has made it clear the sky is the limit for female umpires, suggesting there is no reason why they can't be in control of a men's Test in the future.

The Twenty20 World Cup looms as a potential turning point for women's cricket, especially if organisers succeed in their push for a record-breaking crowd at the MCG final on International Women's Day.

That rings true for players but also officials like Australian Claire Polosak, who last year made history as the first woman to umpire a men's ODI.

The ICC's team of 15 match referees and umpires for the T20 World Cup features a record six women, while there are eight female umpires on its development panel.

The sport's governing body ultimately relies on members to supply umpires, but there has been a concerted effort to develop and encourage more female officials over the past seven years.

ICC head of umpires and referees Adrian Griffith makes it clear that every appointment he makes will always be on merit.

"But certainly from our point of view, the sky is the limit for women. We don't have any restrictions and if they want to go all the way then we're here to support them," Griffith told AAP.

"That (umpiring a men's Test or similar high-profile match) is possible.

"If they make it through their domestic ranks and break into the international level then yes, anything is possible.

"How far they go is up to the umpire, how she performs around her peers."

Griffith, who is on deck in Australia as the ICC's new no-ball system involving the third umpire is rolled out, will make appointments for the T20 World Cup semi-finals and final later on.

The 2018 final featured two male standing umpires, while the third umpire, reserve umpire and match referee were also all men.

Two women umpiring the final would add another layer to the game-changing narrative on March 8.

"They'll get there on merit if they're there. It all comes down to performance during the tournament," Griffith said.

"It can't be a token thing where we just say 'we want to have female umpires' and bring them in.

"They are all here because they're good umpires ... I'm very happy with where we're going and where we can hopefully get to."

Australian Associated Press