India's Nitin Menon will make his Test debut after being appointed as an on-field umpire for the upcoming Test match between Afghanistan and West Indies to be held in Dehradun from November 27. According to the BCCI, Nitin is the son of former international umpire Narendra Menon and followed his father's footsteps and became a state panel umpire for Madhya Pradesh Cricket Association in 2005. Nitin, who has represented Madhya Pradesh in U-16, U-19, U-23, and List A matches, cleared the All India Umpiring Exam conducted by the BCCI in 2006 and started officiating in domestic matches from the 2007-08 season. Apart from 57 first-class games, Nitin has also officiated in 22 One Day Internationals, nine T20 Internationals, and 40 IPL matches.
An elated Nitin, whose ultimate goal is to become an ICC Elite Panel Umpire thanked BCCI for the support and faith shown in him. "The reason behind my smooth transition to international cricket is mainly because of the robust, competitive and professional structure of the BCCI domestic matches," he was quoted as saying by the BCCI. He added that the Umpires Exchange Program helped him in his overall growth as a match official. "The experience that I gained from officiating in our domestic tournaments and the opportunity given to me by the BCCI for officiating in the IPL as well as in first-class matches in Australia, England and South Africa as part of Umpires Exchange Program has helped me in my development as an umpire," Nitin said. "I am happy to repay the trust shown in me and looking forward to facing the new challenges of Test cricket so that I can achieve my goal of becoming an ICC Elite Panel Umpire," he added.
Currently, seven of the 12-strong elite panel hail from England or Australia and Stephenson said the need of the hour is to invest more in raising the umpiring standard across the globe. During a two-day meeting of MCC's Cricket Committee at Lord's on Monday, which was attended by MCC chairman Mike Gatting, Stephenson and panel members Shane Warne and Kumar Sangakkara, it was also decided to increase the number of umpires in ICC's elite panel. "Unfortunately there is quite an imbalance with ICC elite-level umpiring panel where you have certain umpires adjudicating in certain series. But we think it's time for the base to be broadened and to train up more umpires to get to the elite levels," Stephenson said. "Overall, we think neutrality does work. But with DRS and technology maybe it's something we need look at in the future. In one-day cricket, we have one non-neutral umpire standing and in Twenty20 we have it as well. Maybe further down the line, it can be a thing," he added.