DUBAI - Pakistan umpire Aleem Dar will become the third member of the Elite Panel of the International Cricket Council (ICC) umpires to reach the milestone of 100 Test appearances when he will supervise the second Test of the four-match series between South Africa and England at Newlands on Saturday.
Speaking on his achievement, Dar said that he was delighted to have reached the significant milestone in his career, adding that he was honored to be involved in the sport for so many years.
Privileged to have worked with some of the best match officials, the 47-year-old former off-spinner extended his gratitude to Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and ICC for their support.
“It is an enormous honour to be involved in a sport which has given me so much enjoyment, enabled me to travel the world and experience so many different cultures. To my family, I would like to pay a special tribute because I wouldn’t have been able to enjoy the career I have had to date without their love and support.” he said.
“An umpire’s life can be challenging at times, with lots of time away from home, but they understand how important this is to me and have always given me their full support,” he added.
“I have been privileged to have worked alongside some of the very best match officials and have umpired in classic matches at iconic venues featuring modern-day greats. It is a great honour for me and one which I will cherish for many years to come,” Dar said.
ICC General Manager Geoff Allardice described Aleem Dar as one of the best umpires, adding that he was widely respected in the cricket community for his professionalism and reliability.
It was not easy to umpire at the elite level for more than a decade, and his professionalism, consistency and reliability have allowed him to perform so well for so long, he said.
“Dar is in esteemed company alongside two other umpiring greats – Steve Bucknor and Rudi Koertzen – and he should be extremely proud of his achievements. He is widely respected in the cricket community and all involved in the game will join me in congratulating him on reaching this significant milestone,” he said.
Aleem Dar made his international umpiring debut in an ODI between Pakistan and Sri Lanka at Gujrawala on 16 February 2000. In 2002, he became a member of ICC’s International Panel of umpires. He was chosen to umpire at the ICC Cricket World Cup in early 2003.
He was appointed to stand in his first Test match in October 2003 between Bangladesh and England at Dhaka. Over the next six months he was appointed to stand in several more Test matches, and as a neutral umpire in ODI matches away from Pakistan.
In April 2004, he became the first Pakistani to be part of the ICC Elite Umpire Panel. He was nominated for the ICC Umpire of the year Award in 2005 and 2006, beaten on both occasions by the Australian Simon Taufel.
On 17 October 2007, Dar umpired in his 100th ODI – between India and Australia at Mumbai – making him the tenth umpire in the history of cricket to reach that landmark. He reached the landmark in a record time, taking just seven years, and became the first Pakistani to officiate in a century of One Day Internationals.
Dar has stood in a solitary Pakistan-India ODI match at Karachi in 2006 and five Ashes Test matches. He was also one of the on-field umpires for the final of the 2006 ICC Champions Trophy, standing alongside Rudi Koertzen. He stood in the final of the 2007 Cricket World Cup between Australia and Sri Lanka, where he officiated with Steve Bucknor.
He was also selected to stand in the final of the 2010 ICC World Twenty20 between Australia and England. He has never umpired a Test match in Pakistan, because his appointment in the international panel came after the introduction of neutral umpires for Test matches.
In January 2005, Dar and his colleague Steve Bucknor, received death threats during a Test match between England and South Africa at Centurion. He was also involved in a controversy during the 2007 Cricket World Cup final where he, along with fellow officials Bucknor, Koertzen, Bowden and Crowe incorrectly made Australia bowl three unnecessary over in near darkness. Consequently, the ICC decided to suspend him, along with the other four officials, from duty for the next ICC event, which was the 2007 World Twenty20 Championship.
He proved his accuracy at the 2011 Cricket World Cup when all the 15 Umpire Decision Review System appeals against him were struck down.
After being nominated twice in 2005 and 2006, Dar finally won the Umpire of the Year award in October 2009. By claiming the award, Dar ended Simaon Taufel’s run of five successive awards. It was the first time that any umpire other than Taufel had picked up the accolade in the six years that the ceremony has taken place.
In October 2010, he won the award for a second straight year. In September 2011, he was named best umpire for the third consecutive year. On 14 August 2010, the government of Pakistan honoured him with the President’s Award for Pride of Performance, and in 2013, he received Sitara-e-Imtiaz (Star of Excellence) – Pakistan’s third-highest civil award. He was also honoured by ICC for officiating in 150 ODI’s.