SA20 League: Rising female officials headline Betway SA20 match officials panel

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Photo Credit: SA20 League

Rising umpire, Lauren Agenbag, and match referee, Shandre Fritz, are among the new additions announced in the 20 match officials presiding over the Betway SA20 Season 2 round-robin stage to begin on 10 January 2024 in Gqeberha.

The number of umpires has increased to 15 from Season 1, with five match referees spread across the six iconic venues around South Africa.

The League’s commitment to promoting diversity across all levels of the game has been illustrated with the promotion of the first female, Agenbag, to the umpire’s panel for Season 2.

Agenbag is a trailblazer in the umpiring world after the 26-year-old also became the first woman to be appointed to the Cricket South Africa (CSA) Elite Umpires Panel, whose officials oversee all senior provincial domestic matches, this past season.

Her resume is well decorated after also standing in an ICC Women’s World Cup final, officiating in the showpiece of the 2021 50-over women’s event in New Zealand between Australia and England.

In addition, Agenbag is also the youngest to have officiated an international match, after making her debut as a 22-year-old in a T20I between South Africa and Sri Lanka in 2019.

She will be joined as a newbie on the umpires panel by Mazizi Gampu, Ryan Hendricks, Thomas Mokorosi, Abongile Sodumo, Philip Vosloo and Russell Warren.

Former ICC Umpire of the Year, Marais Erasmus, who officiated in the 2022 and 2021 ICC Men’s T20 World Cup finals, as well as the 2019 ICC Men’s World Cup final at Lord’s headlines the list of umpires remaining from Season 1.

The Match Referees list, meanwhile, features former Proteas Women’s international, Shandre Fritz, who along with Agenbag, formed part of a historic first-ever all-female panel of match officials for the ICC T20 Women’s World Cup held in South Africa last year.

Other notable umpires on the list include Babalo ‘Babs’ Gcuma, who was the first recipient of the Umpire Exchange Programme between the League and the England and Wales Cricket Board’s (ECB), The Hundred, during the off season.

The programme was designed to give rising umpires in both countries the opportunity to experience new environments to further develop and expand their careers.

Gcuma officiated in four matches during last year’s The Hundred and will return to Betway SA20 much richer for the experience. Russell Warren will be on the ground in South Africa from the UK as the reciprocal recipient of the umpire exchange programme with the ECB.

Adrian Holdstock (who stood in the Season 1 final alongside Erasmus), Allahudien Paleker and Bongani Jele were not available for the round-robin matches due to ICC commitments. They will be considered for the playoff matches subject to availability.

UMPIRES PANEL

Lauren Agenbag, Marais Erasmus, Mazizi Gampu, Siphelele Gasa, Babalo Gcuma, Stephen Harris, Ryan Hendricks, Arno Jacobs, Thomas Mokorosi, Dennis Smith, Abongile Sodumo, Abdoellaah Steenkamp, Philip Vosloo, Russell Warren (English), Brad White.

MATCH REFEREES LIST

Shandre Fritz, Barry Lambson, Laurence Matroos, Zed Ndamane, Gerrie Pienaar.

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