Richard Illingworth will become the first neutral umpire to officiate in a Test match since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic when he officiates in the upcoming first Test of the two-match series between Bangladesh and West Indies.

Bangladesh don’t have an umpire in the ICC’s Elite Panel and that’s why the International Cricket Council appointed Illingworth as the umpire for the match beginning February 3 at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium, as per a report in ESPNcricinfo.

The 57-year-old will officiate the two Tests alongside home umpire Sharfuddoula, who will stand in his first Test match, the report further said.

Illingworth arrived in Chattogram on Sunday, 11 days before the first Test.

The ICC, when in June last year international cricket resumed after the global lockdown because of the Covid-19 pandemic, had temporarily removed neutral umpires for all international formats owing to the “current logistical challenges with international travel”.

In December, West Indies Test captain Jason Holder had said that if players were travelling for Tests, neutral umpires could too.

“I still don’t understand a situation where we’re just having home umpires. If players are making the sacrifice and going on the road and continuing cricket then I feel as though the umpires should do the same,” Holder had said after the culmination of the Test series in New Zealand. “Even if it’s a case where you get a home and an opposing umpire to do a Test match then I think that’s fair,” he added.

–IANS

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