Umpire Nitin Menon keeps watch as Zimbabwe's Tinotenda Mutombodzi bowls against Sri Lanka in January 2020

New Delhi (AFP) - India’s Nitin Menon, 36, on Monday became the youngest member of the International Cricket Council’s elite umpire list.

Menon gave up playing cricket when he was 22 to start umpiring and has gradually moved up the rankings, officiating in three Tests, 24 one-day internationals and 16 Twenty20 matches.

“My priority was to play for the country rather than umpiring,” said Menon, who played two matches for Madhya Pradesh state in 2004 before taking up umpiring.

“I quit playing at 22 and I became a senior umpire at the age of 23. It wasn’t worth trying to play and umpire so I decided to focus on umpiring alone,” added Menon, who replaced England’s Nigel Llong on the 2020-21 season list.

“I’m feeling very confident by the fact that age is on my side, but the performance is what ultimately matters. Whether I do well or not, age has little to do with performance.”

Menon is only the third Indian after Srinivas Venkatraghavan and Sundaram Ravi – who was dropped from the list last year – to join the elite group of 12 umpires who take charge at top matches and tournaments.