How often have you come across a female umpire in your life? Vrinda Rathi from Navi Mumbai grew up hearing ‘sir’ quite often when she was officiating a local match played by boys. She is used to it. 29-year-old Vrinda works as a fitness coach there. She recently passed BCCI’s Level 2 exam to become India’s first female umpire.
She is not the first female umpire. In 2016, Australia’s Claire Polosak and New Zealand’s Kathy Cross have officiated in the T20I Women’s World Cup. “It’s a substantial raise,” says Rathi in an interview to The Times of India. “But with that comes great responsibility to prove your worth.”
“Umpiring requires you to hone your skills under the scorching sun,” says Rathi, adding that the job calls for both physical ensurance and mental toughness.
“Initially, there were unsubstantiated apprehensions about the quality that a woman umpire may bring in,” says Rathi, adding that in the end, it’s performance that wins out. “When everyone around knows that you mean business at the centre of the field, your gender does not matter,” adds Rathi, the commerce graduate in her glad that she could win the confidence of her “stakeholders” over time.
Her feat is certainly going to inspire aspiring women to take to umpiring and look at it as a career option.