LAHORE - The International Cricket Council (ICC) Tuesday announced that Roshan Mahanama will step down from the Elite Panel of ICC Match Referees at the end of the year.

Mahanama joined the elite panel in 2004 and has refereed in 58 Tests, 222 ODIs and 35 T20Is to date, including refereeing in three ICC Cricket World Cups and the ICC Champions Trophy 2009. "He has made the decision to step down six months ahead of the expiry of his contract so that he can spend more time with his family and also focus on the development of his business activities in Sri Lanka," ICC said in a statement. This has been an extremely difficult decision as I am very passionate about cricket, which has been an integral part of 40 years as a cricketer, coach and ICC match referee," said the 49-year-old Mahanama.

“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,” it added. "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. 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.

"I would like to thank the ICC and Sri Lanka Cricket for affording me the opportunity to be involved in almost 600 internationals of the game I so passionately love," commented. As a cricketer, Mahanama represented Sri Lanka in 52 Tests and 213 One-Day Internationals from 1986 to 1999. He played in four ICC Cricket World Cups and was a Member of the Sri Lanka side that triumphed over Australia in the 1996 final in Lahore.

ICC General Manager Cricket Geoff Allardice thanked Mahanama for his contributions as a match referee ‘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,’ he said.