Whenever we think of cricket we think of batsmen, bowlers and fielders, but he hardly give a thought to the umpires, who are responsible for the fairplay of the game. Without the umpires there will utter chaos and confusion. They bring peace and control, and umpiring in cricket is crucial for the survival of the game. A bad decision can turn the match the other way round, and may lead to agony of the other teams. Good umpiring helps in uplifting the standard of this wonderful game. Umpiring is not a walk in the park as many think. Umpiring errors in the past have led to controversies that has often tarnished the image of the game. Each umpiring decision is extremely crucial, such that there are possibilities that match might swing the opposite way. Imagine an umpire giving a second life to Sachin Tendulkar, and we know the after effects of such an error. Besides making decisions about legality of delivery, appeals for wickets and general conduct of the game in a legal manner, the umpire also keeps a record of the deliveries and announces the completion of an over.
Over these years, many umpires have been part of this beautiful game and left out their names in the annals of cricket history. There have been some umpires who have been extremely controversial too. Many umpires command respect from former and present cricketers and known for their extreme calmness and their popularity among people. Given below is the list of Top 5 Umpires in Cricket who are the best in their fields.
5. Aleem Dar
He has been one of those umpires who kept their calm on the field. Aleem Dar was a former Pakistan first class cricketer before he took up umpiring as a profession. He has always been unbiased in making decisions. Aleem Dar has never been impartial in his decisions on the field. He was a kind of over shadowed by Simon Taufel, because Taufel was the more famous one. He was composed and never gave any wrong decision due to the pressure created by the opposition. He has been a man of high dignity and he also commands respect among his cricketers. He won three consecutive ICC Umpire of the years 2009, 2010 and 2011 respectively.
4. David Shepherd
David Shepherd started his umpiring career in 1981 and earned sheer reputation in umpiring. Shepherd was at the same time, an entertaining person, and often he was seen jolly with cricketers and cracking jokes at them. He was liked universally by fans all around the globe. The number 111 is also known as ‘Nelson’ attributed to the great David Shepherd. The jolly character in Shepherd sometimes took a leave when the situation arose. An incident where Shepherd showed his decisiveness and firm approach was while giving a warning to Waqar Younis for bowling beamers against Aussie batsmen in the 2003 World Cup. After giving an initial warning, when he repeated the same mistake, Waqar was banned out of the attack. Thus, he became the first umpire to do so. Shepherd was the first umpire to officiate in at-least one match in all the test playing nations.
3. Billy Bowden
Brent Fraser Bowden, also known as Billy Bowden, was born in the year 1963.This kiwi umpire has made a strong mark as an international level umpire. His first ODI as an umpire was in 1995 between New Zealand and Sri Lanka. He then made his test debut as an umpire in 2000 between New Zealand and Australia. Billy still umpires at present and has umpired 75 ODIs and 181 tests and 19 T20s to go with it. Billy Bowden was promoted into the ICC Elite Umpires Panel in the year 2003. Billy is best known for the unique and bizarre umpiring signals that he undertakes, especially the dance jig that precedes his SIX” signal and his crooked index finger to adjudge a batsman out. He is often called as the umpire with the crooked finger.
2. Simon Taufel
Simon Taufel has been one of the brilliant and equally consistent umpires of all time that has ever officiated the game. Even the greats mentioned above have, at times erred. Here is a man who kept on working harder towards perfection. He was that dedicated and consistent in his job. He was an umpire who was a gentleman by all means. Simon Taufel is the proud recipient of ICC Umpire of the Year for 5 years consecutively. Taufel has been an umpire who believed in for being a good umpire you need to be a good person. He also believes that a good umpire should have good man management skills and moral values. Simon Taufel was one of the umpires who built relationships and friendships with players. He showed character on the field and also players enjoyed to have an umpire like him and in fact he has been one of the youngest umpires of the game.
1. Dickie Bird
When the cricket fans hear his name, they have a tendency to consider how did the name “Dickie” went to his name. His true name was Harold Dennis Bird. He earned this handle throughout his schooling days. He took up his second love, that was cricket. He first umpired in a Test Match in 1973, England vs New Zealand at Headingley Stadium in Leeds. He utilized his silliness to great impact too, at the time of debates. He say adieu to international cricket in 1996, when he was in his 66th Test match. The match was in the middle of India and England where the players provided for him a ‘Gatekeeper of Honor’ and he went enthusiastic. Bird was very dedicated to the game and arrived 5 hours before the start if the game. Dickie Bird umpired in 66 Test Matches and 69 One-day internationals including 3 World Cup finals.