No neutral umpires for India vs England Tests; two to make Test debut 

The list of umpires who will officiate the first two Tests of the India vs England series has been announced. The ICC have chosen to go with two home umpires in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Nitin Menon, Anil Chaudhary, and Virender Sharma will be the three umpires to officiate the first two Tests between India and England. 

Nitin Menon is the only Indian umpire in ICC’s Elite Panel, and he will make his 4th Test appearance in Chennai. He will be joined by Anil Chaudhary and Virender Sharma, with both umpires officiating a Test match for the first time in their careers. 

While Anil Chaudhary has overseen 20 ODIs and 28 T20Is, Virender Sharma has officiated 2 ODIs and the solitary T20I. Both debutants are part of ICC’s International Panel of umpires.

Anil Chaudhary will act as the on-field umpire for the 1st India vs England Test beginning February 5. Virender Sharma will replace him for the 2nd fixture. 

Another Indian official part of the International Panel, Chettithody Shamshuddin, will be the 3rd umpire for the 1st Test. Anil Chaudhary will take over these duties from Shamshuddin for the 2nd India vs England Test scheduled for February 13. 

It is not clear who will officiate the final 2 Tests, with the roster for the white-ball series between India and England yet to be confirmed as well. However, Javagal Srinath will serve as the match referee for the entirety of the tour.

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced ICC to field local umpires for international games to limit travel. The same has attracted a little criticism, with players unhappy with the quality of umpiring in some games. 

The body recently disclosed that Richard Illingworth would officiate the two-match Test series between Bangladesh and West Indies. With this, the England umpire becomes the first neutral umpire to officiate a Test match since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

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