Top 10 Best Umpires In Cricket

Umpires take on a lot of pressure when officiating a cricket match. We take a look at the finest umpires to grace the sport.

Umpire Richard Kettleborough signals a wide during the 2nd Nat West One Day International between England and Australia
Kaylan Geekie

Written by: Kaylan Geekie

(Sports Writer)

Fact checked by: Louis Hobbs

(Senior Sports Writer)

Last updated: 2024-05-01

7 minutes read

The top 12 best umpires in world cricket work for the International Cricket Council (ICC).

International cricket umpiring is among the most stressful officiating in the sports world.

Long hours of standing in the middle of the cricket grounds, often in the sweltering summer heat, with only a fraction of a split-second to make the right call, are all part of being an umpire.

The officials who work for the ICC are among the best in cricket.

They stand in Test matches, One Day Internationals (ODIs), and International T20 cricket tournaments and are away from their families for long periods.

SportsBoom ranks the top 12 umpires in world cricket, the men in the middle whose job is among the toughest in sports officiating. 

Image Credits: Andy Todd - Derivative of CRW

Image Credits: Andy Todd - Derivative of CRW

Who are the best umpires in world cricket?

There are currently 12 umpires on the 2024 Elite Panel of ICC Umpires list.

Nine umpires from Full Member nations sit on the ICC Elite Panel, while Zimbabwe, Afghanistan, and Ireland have no representatives.

Rod Tucker, Kumar Dharmasena, Richard Kettleborough, Richard Illingworth, Paul Reiffel, Chris Gaffaney are six of the dozen men on the list.

Michael Gough, Joel Wilson, Nitin Menon, Ahsan Raza, Adrian Holdstock, and Sharfuddoula Saikat are the other six officials considered the best umpires in world cricket by the ICC.

England has the most umpires on the panel, represented by Kettleborough, Illingworth, and Gough.

Australia has the second-most representatives, with Tucker and Reiffel's inclusion.

New Zealand, India, South Africa, Pakistan, Bangladesh, West Indies, and Sri Lanka have one umpire from the remaining Full Member nations.

Not all Elite Panel's umpires work in T20 franchise cricket tournaments.

Tucker, Gaffaney, Gough, and Menon are the only four umpires working in the 2024 Indian Premier League (IPL)

Elite Panel of ICC Best Umpires 2024

Richard KettleboroughEngland8010636
Richard IllingworthEngland669027
Michael GoughEngland338522
Rod TuckerAustralia8310252
Paul ReiffelAustralia658827
Nitin MenonIndia215841
Chris GaffaneyNew Zealand518643
Kumar DharmasenaSri Lanka8114742
Adrian HoldstockSouth Africa95950
Sharfuddoula SaikatBangladesh106143
Joel WilsonWest Indies389843
Ahsan RazaPakistan115374

ICC Umpire of the Year

The David Shepherd Trophy is awarded annually by the International Cricket Council to the ICC Umpire of the Year. 

The ICC Umpire of the Year trophy is named after the respected English umpire David Shepherd. 

The David Shepherd Trophy was first awarded to Australian umpire Simon Taufel in 2004.

Taufel, who is regarded as one of the best umpires in the world, won this award a record five years in a row (2004-2008).

Pakistan’s Aleem Dar (2009-2011) and England’s Richard Kettleborough (2103-2015) have both won the David Shepherd Trophy three years in a row. 

Another English umpire on the 2024 Elite Panel of ICC Umpires to win the award three times is Richard Illingworth (2019 & 2022-2023). 

Marais Erasmus (2016-2017 & 2021) is the only South African umpire to be awarded the ICC’s best umpire of the year. 

Kumar Dharmasena has also won the trophy multiple times. The Sri Lankan umpire collected the award for best umpire in 2012 and 2018.

Based on these awards, Taufel can be considered the best umpire in the modern era with his five David Shepherd Trophy awards. 

Image Credits: By Ben Sutherland - flickr

Image Credits: By Ben Sutherland - flickr

What is the Elite Panel of ICC Umpires?

The Elite Panel of ICC Umpires is a panel of cricket umpires appointed by the International Cricket Council to officiate in Test matches and One Day Internationals.

In 2002, the ICC set up the “Elite Panel” because the council wanted to reform international cricket umpiring.

The foremost change was that both umpires in a Test match and one of the umpires in a One Day International were now independent.

Before 2002, only one of the umpires in a Test was independent. In ODIs, both umpires were from the home nation.

Most of these appointments, officiated by the members of the Elite Panel, are adjudged to be among the best umpires in the world.

These chosen umpires stand in approximately 10 Test matches and 15 ODIs per calendar year.

Many of these umpires will officiate in global T20 franchise competitions, including the IPL and SA20, South Africa's Premier T20 competition.

They uphold the laws and spirit of the game and control the ebb and flow of cricket while walking to and from the stumps between overs.

The list of umpires in the panel is revised yearly by the ICC Umpires Selection Panel.

International Panel of Best ICC Indian Umpires

The International Panel of ICC Umpires was established in 1994. These umpires stand in ODIs and are made up of umpires from Full Members.

The panel has 44 umpires from all 12 Test-playing nations. No country has more than four sitting umpires or fewer than three.

India has four umpires on the International Panel of ICC umpires: Jayaraman Madanagopal, Rohan Pandit, Virender Sharma, and K. N. Ananthapadmanabhan.

Panel of Best ICC Indian Umpires

UmpirePanelCricket Formats
1. Nitin MenonElite PanelTests / ODIs / T20I
2. Jayaraman MadanagopalInternational PanelODIs / T20I
3. Rohan PanditInternational PanelODIs / T20I
4. Virender SharmaInternational PanelODIs / T20I
5. K. N. AnanthapadmanabhanInternational PanelODIs / T20I
Image Credits: Calistemon

Image Credits: Calistemon


Who is the best modern-era umpire in the world?

Simon Taufel (5 David Shepherd Trophies) is considered the best modern-era umpire in the world.

How many umpires are on the Elite Panel of ICC Umpires in 2024?

There are 12 umpires on the ICC's Elite Panel of Umpires.

How many countries have representatives on the Elite Panel of ICC Umpires?

The Elite Panel of Umpires has officials from nine Full Member nations.

Which country has the most representatives on the ICC's Elite Panel of Umpires?

England has the most officials on the ICC's Elite Panel of Umpires in 2024.

How many Elite Panel Umpires are officiating in the IPL?

Four of the 12 Elite Panel Umpires are working in the 2024 IPL.

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Kaylan Geekie


Kaylan Geekie

Kaylan Geekie

Kaylan Geekie is a sports fanatic. He attended Durban High School before moving to Scotland, where he lived for 15 years. During his time in the United Kingdom, Kaylan graduated with a first-class BA Honours Degree in Sports Journalism at the University of the West of Scotland. Kaylan worked for nine years as the Match-Day Editor of, reporting on Super Rugby, The Rugby Championship, the 2015 Men's Rugby World Cup and the 2017 British & Irish Lions series for the website.

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