Dubai: Sri Lanka's Kumar Dharmasena and Richard Kettleborough of England were on Wednesday promoted to the ICC Elite Panel of Umpires for the year 2011-2012 following an annual review.
According to a media release issued by ICC, the two match officials, who have been serving on the International Panel of ICC Umpires, will replace Australian Daryl Harper, whose existing contract expires in July, and controversial Asoka de Silva of Sri Lanka.
"Their promotions are a result of hard work and impressive performances and will act as an inspiration to other umpires," David Richardson, ICC's General Manager - Cricket and Convener of selection panel, was quoted as saying by the release.
Dharmasena, 40, made his international umpiring debut in 2009 and has since officiated in two Tests, 25 ODIs and three T20Is.
As a cricketer, he played 31 Tests and 141 ODIs for Sri Lanka from 1993 to 2004 and scalped 69 and 138 wickets, respectively.
The Colombo-born former off-spinner is also a member of Sri Lanka's World Cup-winning side in 1996.
"I am honoured and delighted to have been selected. To umpire alongside the most respected names in this noble profession and be included on the elite panel is something I wanted to achieve ever since I started umpiring.
"My next target is to continue to work hard, make good decisions and justify my inclusion," Dharmasena said after his selection in the elite panel of umpires.
Kettleborough, meanwhile, has now become the youngest umpire on the panel by virtue of the promotion.
The Yorkshireman played 33 first-class matches from 1994 to 1999 for Middlesex and Yorkshire in the English County Championship before he was included in the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) panel of umpires in 2006.
Kettleborough made his international umpiring debut when he stood in a T20 international between England and Australia at Old Trafford in 2009. Till date, he has officiated in two Tests, 16 ODIs and two T20Is.
Like Dharmasena, Kettleborough was also in the panel of 18 umpires for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011.
"I am delighted to have been chosen for the elite panel and I'm looking forward to the challenges ahead," the Englishman said.
The ICC Umpires Selection Panel consists of Richardson, ICC chief match referee Ranjan Madugalle, ex-England player, coach and former first-class umpire David Lloyd and former India captain and international umpire S Venkataraghavan.
Emirates Elite Panel of ICC Umpires (2011-12): Billy Bowden, Aleem Dar, Steve Davis, Kumar Dharmasena, Billy Doctrove, Marais Erasmus, Ian Gould, Tony Hill, Richard Kettleborough, Asad Rauf, Simon Taufel, Rod Tucker.