Mahanama has refereed in 58 Tests, 222 ODIs  and 35 T20Is so far. © Getty Images

Mahanama has refereed in 58 Tests, 222 ODIs and 35 T20Is so far. © Getty Images

Roshan Mahanama will step down from the elite panel of match referees of the International Cricket Council at the end of the year, it was announced on Tuesday (September 15).

Mahanama decided to step down six months ahead of the expiry of his contract so that he could spend more time with his family and also focus on the development of his business activities in Sri Lanka.

“This has been an extremely difficult decision as I am very passionate about cricket, which has been an integral part of my life for over 40 years as a cricketer, coach and ICC match referee,” said Mahanama in a statement.

“However, in life a time comes when one has to keep moving forward based on obligations and priorities. My time has come to devote an uninterrupted focus and attention to my family, who made massive sacrifices over the years to enable me to pursue my career for over three decades.”

A former captain and a member of the Sri Lanka squad that won the World Cup in 1996, Mahanama represented his country in 52 Tests and 213 One-Day Internationals between 1986 and 1999, in which he scored 2576 and 5162 runs respectively.

Following his retirement from international cricket in 1999, Mahanama made the transition to officiating and marked his debut in the ODI between West Indies and Bangladesh in Kingstown in 2004.

Mahanama, who was made a member of the elite panel in 2004, has refereed in 58 Tests, 222 ODIs – including in three World Cups (2007, 2011 and 2015) and at the Champions Trophy in 2009 – and 35 Twenty20 Internationals so far.

“The journey for almost 12 years as an ICC match referee has been amazing and something for me to reflect upon with pride and satisfaction,” he said. “I have had the pleasure of meeting and working with some outstanding professionals, refereed at some great matches and visited some incredible places along the way.”

Geoff Allardice, the ICC general manager – cricket, lauded Mahanama’s contributions to the ICC and said, “Roshan has been one of the pioneers of the elite panel and has been an integral component during the phase when the referee’s role was evolving. Roshan, very efficiently and intelligently, integrated his cricketing knowledge into match management skills to earn huge respect and appreciation from the entire cricketing fraternity. On behalf of the ICC, I congratulate him on a successful career as a match referee and wish him well in his future endeavours.”

Mahanama’s replacement in the elite panel will be announced in due course.