Nidhi and Ritika Buley, the cricketing siblings from Indore, have achieved a remarkable feat by making their mark in the BCCI umpires’ panel, alongside two other retired female cricketers. Nidhi, who showcased her talents in India’s Test and ODI matches back in 2006, and Ritika, who played 31 First-Class games for Madhya Pradesh, displayed exceptional prowess during the BCCI’s umpiring exam conducted from June 10 to 13. Earning 133.5 and 133 marks out of 150, respectively, they soared past the required cutoff of 120 marks, earning well-deserved recognition as BCCI-empanelled umpires.
The BCCI’s initiative to elevate retired cricketers to the umpires’ panel is a step toward diversifying and enriching the pool of match officials. Nidhi and Ritika’s impressive performances have further bolstered the ranks of women umpires, bringing the total count to seven, a promising sign for women’s representation in cricket officiating.
The journey of the Buley sisters into the umpiring world is driven by their passion for the game and the desire to contribute to cricket in different capacities. While Nidhi’s playing career for India was relatively short, she yearned for the opportunity to officiate on the hallowed ground of Lord’s, which her new role as an umpire might fulfill. Ritika, on the other hand, had aspirations to ascend to the highest level of cricket as a player, but now sees her path as a match official to make her mark in the sport she loves.
Drawing inspiration from Indore’s own Nitin Menon, the lone Indian on the ICC elite panel of umpires, Nidhi and Ritika aim to follow in his footsteps and shine on the international stage as umpires. Despite the male-dominated territory of umpiring, Ritika envisions a future where more women will break barriers and establish their presence in cricket officiating.
With their passion, dedication, and skills, the Buley sisters have opened doors for more opportunities for women in cricket, contributing to the growth and inclusivity of the sport in India. Their journey from players to umpires exemplifies the power of determination and a shared commitment to cricket, and they now eagerly await the chance to officiate in both men’s and women’s matches, aspiring to achieve the highest echelons of umpiring excellence.