Kim Cotton, a 48-year-old umpire from New Zealand, made history on Wednesday by becoming the first female on-field umpire in a full-member men’s T20I. This momentous occasion took place during New Zealand's second match against Sri Lanka in Dunedin.
Cotton has extensive experience as an on-field and TV umpire in women's T20Is and ODIs. She has officiated in 54 women's T20Is and 24 women's ODIs since 2018. This experience has undoubtedly prepared her for the challenges of umpiring in a men's match.
Interestingly, Cotton had previously marked her presence in the men's game as a TV umpire during a tied contest between India and New Zealand in Hamilton in 2020. This suggests that she has been gradually working her way up in the sport and building her reputation as a skilled umpire.
Kim Cotton has an impressive track record in cricket umpiring. Besides officiating in women's T20Is and ODIs, she has also been a part of three T20 World Cups and an ODI World Cup since 2018. Notably, she has umpired the finals of these tournaments in 2020, 2022, and 2023. This shows her skill and experience in handling high-pressure matches.
In 2021, Australia's Claire Polosak made history by becoming the first female match official in a men's Test match. She donned the fourth umpire's role during the 2021-22 Border Gavaskar Trophy Test between India and Australia in Sydney. This achievement broke another gender barrier in cricket umpiring and paved the way for more women to enter this field.
It is heartening to see women like Kim Cotton and Claire Polosak breaking gender stereotypes and making their mark in cricket umpiring. They are inspiring role models for young girls who aspire to pursue a career in sports officiating.
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