Claire Polosak became the first woman umpire to officiate in a men's ODI during the final of the ICC Cricket World League Division 2. (Image credit: Twitter)
For women’s cricket, the current period is considered as their golden era of growth. All women’s international matches get extensive coverage, although not on par with men’s cricket yet. The Women’s Big Bash League in Australia is the most followed while India’s women cricketers are making giant strides thanks to the exploits of Harmanpreet Kaur, Smriti Mandhana, Mithali Raj, Poonam Yadav and other players. For women officials, they are also experiencing major changes and recently, one Australian umpire created history by becoming the first female to officiate in a men’s ODI.
The ICC Cricket World League Division 2 final between Namibia and Oman at Windhoek, Namibia witnessed Claire Polosak officiate. The 31-year-old has previously stood in 15 women's ODIs, the first one in November 2016 between Australia and South Africa. She has also performed well in ICC events, standing in the semifinal of the ICC Women's T20 World Cup 2018 between England and India and four matches at the ICC Women's World Cup 2017, reflecting her rapid rise to success.
Polosak has been championing female officiating and has been a path breaker before too. She was the first woman to stand in a men's domestic fixture in Australia in her first List A match in Australia in 2017. In December last year, she and her South Australian counterpart Eloise Sheridan became the first female umpires to officiate on-field together during a professional match in Australia when the Adelaide Strikers hosted the Melbourne Stars in the WBBL. Polosak was exuberant at the impending milestone.
The historic moment when Claire Polosak took to the field for the World Cricket League Division Two final between Oman and Namibia to become the first female umpire to stand in a men's ODI.— ICC (@ICC) April 27, 2019
Congratulations! 👏👏 pic.twitter.com/DR012QqqZp
"I am thrilled to be the first woman to stand in a men's ODI and how far I have come as an umpire. It really is important to promote women umpires and there's no reason why females can't umpire in cricket. It's about breaking down barriers, creating awareness so more females can come into the role,” Polosak said.
One hopes that Polosak’s success paves the way for women umpires and officials to officiate in men’s games in bilateral games as well as in major ICC tournaments like the World Cup, World T20 and the Champions Trophy in the coming years.