On Sunday, Claire Polosak will do what no other female cricket umpire has been able to in Australia.
She will be on pitch for the men’s List A domestic match between New South Wales and the Cricket Australia XI in Sydney.
It will be a huge moment for the 29-year-old, who has previously officiated the ICC Women’s World T20 and has been third umpire for the domestic one-day cup.
Remarkably, she is carving her path in the sport without ever picking up a bat.
“I never played cricket, which is a little bit interesting for some people,” she said.
“But I have always followed cricket, then my parents got me into it and dad would actually drive up from Goulburn for me to do the umpire’s course here, it took a few times to pass but it was something I was determined to do.”
Polosak has always loved the game and currently holds a role with Cricket NSW that focuses on female engagement and umpire educating.
Ahead of her next career milestone on Sunday, she admits she has had to put in the extra effort as a female in a male-dominated profession.
“I probably had to work a little bit harder but it is part of the enjoyment, and being able to do well makes it even better,” she said.
“The way the appointments work is based on merit so I have never asked for anything extra.
“As I have come through the grades, I have come through at the same speed the players have, so now in the Sydney competition I am seeing players that I have worked with all the way through so I am not a novelty anymore.”
Polosak says all players have shown her respect so far and she regularly engages in “friendly banter”, and has not faced any situations she has not been able to deal with.
She is hoping her latest appointment can inspire other young women to chase their dreams.
“It just shows there is a pathway now, there are increased opportunities,” she said.
“Cricket Australia and Cricket New South Wales are really increasing the amount of support available for female umpires and I think that’s showing in other sports as well.”
While Polosak remained tight-lipped on her ultimate goals, she said the idea of two female umpires occupying the pitch in a first class men’s match could eventually be a reality.
“If there are two women that are good enough to do that, I don’t see why that’s not a possibility in the future.”
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