June 25 (Reuters) - Former test bowlers Richard Illingworth and Paul Reiffel have been promoted to cricket's elite umpiring panel in place of Asad Rauf and Billy Bowden, the International Cricket Council said on Tuesday.
Spinner Illingworth played nine tests for England and fast bowler Reiffel took 104 wickets in 35 tests for Australia.
"It is exciting to see Richard and Paul promoted to the elite panel, but it is also important to acknowledge and appreciate the outstanding contributions of Asad and Billy over a long period of time," selection panel chairman Geoff Allardice said.
"The selection panel considered the overall performances of the umpires over the past 12 months when deciding which umpires would be offered contracts for 2013-14."
Rauf, from Pakistan, had umpired in 47 tests and 98 one-day internationals, but was withdrawn from the recent Champions Trophy following media reports that he was under investigation by Mumbai police following the spot-fixing scandal in the Indian Premier League that led to the arrest of three players.
"In Asad's case, it is important to emphasise that the recent speculation linking his name to the IPL spot-fixing investigation was not considered during the selectors' deliberations," Allardice said.
New Zealand's Bowden had been on the elite panel since 2003, umpiring in 75 tests and 181 one-day internationals, and was known for his unconventional hand signals. (Reporting by Josh Reich)