Umpire John Ward will become the latest Victorian to make his international debut at the MCG on Monday after being appointed to stand in his first Twenty20 International.
With Australia poised to clash with Sri Lanka in front of a large home crowd, Ward, who will also act as third umpire in the series opener at at ANZ Stadium in Sydney on Saturday, will officiate alongside Simon Fry.
Having made his first-class umpiring debut in 2003, Ward has gone onto officiate in 34 matches and a further five tour games, as well as 45 List A fixtures, and was appointed to the Cricket Australia National Umpiring Panel in 2004-05.
Cricket Victoria Chief Executive Officer Tony Dodemaide congratulated Ward on his appointment.
“It’s a significant achievement to take the field in an international match whether you are a player or an official and John is to be congratulated on his appointment,” Dodemaide said.
“John has made significant progress since joining the Cricket Victoria Umpiring Panel in 1996-97 and has advanced steadily through the ranks and into the international arena.
“Victoria is committed to developing the best players and officials in the world and our umpiring department boasts a strong history of producing quality umpires who have come through the development pathway and on to international honours.
“We wish him well.”
Over the past two seasons, Ward has stood in three domestic finals, including last year’s KFC T20 Big Bash League decider between Sydney Sixes and Perth Scorchers, but concedes it will be a different experience altogether on Monday.
“I umpired in a match in front of 43,000 and they made quite a racket, but you’d imagine there would be a few more than that there,” Ward said.
“I’ve sought some wise counsel to assist me and they’ve been helpful.
“I’ve been very fortunate to come through the pathway at Cricket Australia and Cricket Victoria, who have been very supportive… (but) you never think (standing in an international game) is going to happen.”
The KFC T20 INTL between Australia and Sri Lanka will be staged at the MCG from 7pm on Monday, January 28.