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Simon Fry calls time on illustrious 20-year umpiring career

04-170420 Fry-Ward retirement03

Australian Cricket thanks Cricket Australia (CA) National Umpire Panel (NUP) member Simon Fry for his dedicated service to umpiring spanning over 20 years.

The announcement follows a highly decorated career by the South Australian, which included seven Tests; 76 white ball internationals across men’s and women’s cricket; 100 First-Class; 130 List-A and 93 Twenty20 men’s matches both in Australia and on foreign shores. 

Following his playing days with Adelaide University, Kensington and Prince Alfred Old Collegians, Fry began his umpiring career with the SACA Grade Cricket competition in season 1998/99. It wasn’t long until he joined the CA Umpiring pathway with appointment to the WNCL fixture between South Australia and Victoria in November 1999 before travelling to Hobart in December 2000 for the CA Under 19 Championships. 

On 14 January 2001 Fry made his List-A debut at the Adelaide Oval in the fixture between South Australia and New South Wales. He stood in a further two limited over matches before returning to the Adelaide Oval on 16 January 2002 to make his First-Class debut featuring the same teams. 

Domestic appointments continued for the years following, as well as appointment to the Prime Minister’s XI fixture against India in January 2004 which featured the likes of Steve Waugh and Rahul Dravid. 

Strong performances throughout this time led to elevation to the CA National Umpire Panel in season 2005/06. The season proved significant both for Fry and cricket. Whilst he personally made his Women’s One-Day International debut on 25 February 2006 when Australia hosted India in Adelaide, Australian cricket introduced a new domestic format – twenty20. Fry made his debut in the new format in the fifth game of the seven-game season as South Australia played Western Australia at the Adelaide Oval.

Fry’s first taste of an ICC tournament and exposure that the reach of cricket has globally came in May 2007, where he was appointed to the ICC World Cricket League Division Three tournament in Darwin. Over the week Fry officiated Argentina; Cayman Islands; Fiji; Hong Kong; Italy; Papua New Guinea and Uganda. 

Opportunities continued for Fry on the domestic scene, including his first appointment to a Sheffield Shield Final in March 2010 when Victoria hosted Queensland at the MCG. He also started to feature in “A” Series’, including matches against Pakistan “A” in July 2009 and Sri Lanka “A” in June 2010.  

In November 2010, umpiring took Fry overseas for the first time. Appointed as part of the annual ‘umpire exchange’, Fry stood in the Plunkett Shield match between Auckland and Central Districts. Unbeknown to Fry at the time, he would return to New Zealand in February 2016 to stand in a Sheffield Shield fixture between New South Wales and Western Australia at Bert Sutcliffe Oval, Lincoln. This was a history making match, being the first time in its then 123-year history that an Australian domestic cricket match was played on foreign soil. 

January 2011 was an exciting month of men’s international debuts for Fry. On 12 January he made his Twenty20 International debut at the Adelaide Oval in the fixture between Australia and England. On Australia Day, Fry returned to the same venue featuring the same teams and made his One-Day International debut alongside ICC Elite Panel member Marais Erasmus. 

Fry’s breakthrough 2010/11 cricket season continued, with appointment to the Sheffield Shield Final in Hobart before travelling straight to South Africa. There he was appointed in two SuperSport Series matches across Cape Town and Durban as part of the ‘umpire exchange’ program with Cricket South Africa. 

Another invention was introduced to Australian cricket in December 2011, as the rejuvenated Big Bash League welcomed a new eight-team franchise-based competition. At that point, Fry had officiated in 11 of the previous state based Twenty20 competition matches, including the Final between South Australia and Victoria in January 2010. His debut in the new BBL|01 series came on 17 December 2011 at the MCG in the match between the Melbourne Stars and Sydney Thunder. 

Fry completed his third and final ‘umpire exchange’ opportunity in November 2012 with invaluable experiences in India. Standing in the Ranji Trophy, Fry officiated in the northern Indian cities of Meerut and Delhi. 

In August 2013, umpiring took Fry to a new part of the world not normally associated with cricket. He travelled to Canada to officiate in the ICC World Cricket League, featuring matches between the hosts and the United Arab Emirates. He was again exposed to cricket on the international stage in February 2014 when he was appointed to the ICC Under 19 Cricket World Cup in Dubai.  

Season 2014/15 was another significant season for Fry. It began earlier than usual, with appointment to the “A” Series across Brisbane and Darwin throughout July. He then began his Australian domestic limited-over season with a milestone, as he became the first umpire to stand in 50 Australian domestic one-day matches. 

Following a men’s T20 International Series between Australia and South Africa in November 2014, Fry then travelled to Sri Lanka for his first One-Day International Series on foreign soil. There he stood on-field in two games and two from the Third Umpire box as Sri Lanka hosted England.  

Fry was then appointed by the ICC to the biggest world cricket tournament – the ICC Cricket World Cup, held across Australia and New Zealand in February/March 2015. There he stood in three games on-field in New Zealand and a further two matches as Third Umpire at Adelaide Oval. He closed his amazing season with appointment to the Sheffield Shield Final between Victoria and Western Australia at Blundstone Arena – which incredibly was his only appointment in that competition for the season. 

During the ‘off-season’ of 2015, Fry was invited to the Indian Premier League where he was appointed to six matches across India. A couple of months later Fry had another overseas stint, with appointments to the three-match One-Day International Series between Zimbabwe and India in Harare throughout July. 

In October 2015, Fry took his most significant step in his umpiring pathway when he made his Test Match debut. Standing alongside countryman Rod Tucker, Fry oversaw proceedings as hosts Sri Lanka played the West Indies in Colombo. It was a trio of Australian’s on the match, with David Boon also appointed as Match Referee. 

Fry returned to India throughout March 2016 to officiate in the ICC Women’s World Twenty20. He was appointed across five fixtures, and even had an audience with the Dalai Lama with his officiating colleagues.   

Overseas opportunities continued to present themselves for Fry, as he travelled to the United Kingdom for the England versus Pakistan One-Day International Series in August 2016. Fry was well and truly in the ‘hot seat’ at Lord’s, as the ICC introduced new no-ball technology under Fry’s watch as Third Umpire. He also made history in becoming the first Third Umpire to make a ‘no-ball’ call from off the field. 

Later that year in October, he returned to Harare and stood in two Test matches between Zimbabwe and Sri Lanka. The following month he travelled to New Zealand and was appointed to one Test match on-field and a further game in the box for the New Zealand versus Pakistan Test Series. Just a month later Fry found himself travelling to India for a last-minute call-up following an on-field injury to Paul Reiffel, and was on-field for the Test match between India and England. 

The 2017 Australian ‘off-season’ again provided Fry with incredible opportunities on foreign shores. Throughout April he stood in the West Indies versus Pakistan One-Day International Series in the Caribbean before travelling to the United Kingdom again in July. His first game in England was at the Home of Cricket, Lord’s, where he stood in a fixture between the Marylebone Cricket Club and Afghanistan. A couple of days later he officiated a Test between England and South Africa at Trent Bridge.

Fry returned to England a couple of months later, as England hosted the West Indies during a three match One-Day International Series in September where he was appointed on-field for all matches. 

In October 2017, Fry stood in his seventh, and final, Test Match in Bulawayo as Zimbabwe hosted the West Indies. Fry retires with a total of seven Test Matches on-field across five countries; as well as a further seven matches as Third Umpire, and eight times as Fourth Umpire. 

Whilst it might have been the final international red ball match, Fry continued to travel overseas for white ball cricket. In December 2017, Fry officiated on-field for two matches and a third in the India versus Sri Lanka Series on the subcontinent. 

Throughout March 2018, Fry returned to Zimbabwe to officiate in the ICC World Cup Qualifiers, held in Harare. His final appointments on foreign soil came in March the following year, where he stood in the ICC World T20 East Asia Pacific Region Finals in Port Moresby. 

Fry called time on his coveted career in round nine of the Sheffield Shield. Fittingly, it was alongside fellow retiring and long-serving umpire John Ward. It was also the match in which he brought up his incredible 100 First-Class games milestone. Alongside his seven Test matches; Fry stood in 76 Sheffield Shield; 12 Tour Matches; and five First-Class matches in foreign domestic competitions. From his 76 Sheffield Shield matches, seven were Finals. 

In the 50-over white ball format, Fry closes his career with 49 men’s One-Day Internationals and a further 20 games as Third Umpire. In addition to his One-Day Internationals, Fry officiated in 67 one-day domestic and 14 one-day tour matches, to finish with a total of 130 List-A matches. Fry also has 11 WNCL matches to his name. 

In the shortest format, Fry has stood in 19 men’s and four women’s T20 Internationals. At a domestic level, Fry stood in 74 T20 Domestic games, which included three Finals.

Off-field, Fry’s contribution to umpiring has been just as important. For several years Fry was a member of the peer voted, three-person Umpire Leadership Group (ULG) within the Cricket Australia National Umpire Panel. The group were involved in negotiating a Memorandum of Understanding directly with Cricket Australia, which resulted in all National Umpire Panel contracts becoming a viable full-time profession for the first time. 

Over a four-year period, Fry was awarded the CA Umpire Award. Awarded annually, the CA Umpire Award is presented to an ICC Elite Panel or Cricket Australia National Panel Umpire adjudged all-round most outstanding, with consideration not only to an umpire’s on-field performance but also their contribution to elite umpiring in Australia by way of significant achievement or off-field work. Fry was selected by the CA Chair and CEO for this award between 2013/14 to 2016/17. 

Whilst Fry has managed a successful accountancy business alongside his busy umpiring career, recently he has also continued to give back to the South Australian officiating community by assisting in the development of local umpires through sharing his experience and knowledge.

Australian cricket thanks Simon for his long-serving dedication to umpiring, and wishes him the best of luck in retirement.