For the first time in 144 years of Test-match cricket, a woman – Australia’s Claire Polosak – has officiated in the longest format of the game, as the fourth or reserve umpire, in the third Test between Australia and India, which started at the SCG on Thursday.
It is far from being the first time Polosak, 32, has led the way for women umpires. In April last year, she officiated in the final match of the World Cricket League Division 2 between Namibia and Oman. Earlier, in December 2018, she and Eloise Sheridan became the first women to officiate on the field together during a professional match in Australia when the Adelaide Strikers faced the Melbourne Stars in the WBBL.
She was also the first woman to stand in an Australian men’s domestic fixture in 2017 during the JLT Cup. In 2016, New Zealand’s Kathy Cross and Polosak became the first women umpires to officiate at a T20 World Cup when they were at the Women’s T20 World Cup in India. Polak, who hails from New South Wales, was also part of the umpiring panel at the Women’s T20 World Cup in Australia last year in February-March.
Polak is part of Cricket Australia’s supplementary umpire panel and the ICC development umpire panel. Her international umpiring career began in 2015 with an appointment to the ICC women’s T20 qualifying tournament in Thailand, where she stood in eight matches including the final. In addition to her experience in the men’s game, Polosak has officiated in 17 women’s ODIs, with an additional three as third umpire, and 33 Women’s T20Is, with an additional five as the third umpire.
Travel restrictions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in an all-Australian panel of officials, including match referees, for the four-Test series.