Former Pakistan cricketer turned umpire Javed Akhtar took his last breath on Friday (July 8). He was 75.
Akhtar was an off spinner in his playing days. He was born in Delhi on November 21, 1940, and went on to play just the one Test match against England at Headingley in 1962, but it was as an umpire hat he carved a niche for himself and courted controversy.
As an umpire, he officiated 18 Tests and 40 One day international matches. The last match he officiated between England and India in 1999 World Cup Birmingham, where his decision to uphold a Javagal Srinath appeal for lbw against Graham Thrope led to a spat.
He officiated last Test match as an official. The game between England and South Africa at Headingley in 1998 was marred by controversy as well when he was charged with bias in favour of England after he gave eight questionable decisions against South Africa in what was the series decider.
“… last man (Makhaya) Ntini was hit on the pad by (Darren) Gough and Pakistani umpire Javed Akhtar made the last and easiest of the decisions that had brought him four days of painful notoriety,” reported the Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack.
In 1999 he officiated one more Test against Australia in Rawalpindi before retiring in 1999.
In 2000 Dr. Ali Bacher alleged that Akhtar was indulged in match fixing, hinting at the umpire’s conduct in that Headingley Test. The Telegraph-England , at that time, reported that Bacher had claimed Akhtar was “on the payroll of a Pakistani bookmaker” for the game that England won by 23 runs.
However, Akhtar rubbished the claims and sued Bacher, but the South African did’not turn up for the hearing, and justice Karamat Nazir Bhandari Commission in Pakistan subsequently, cleared Akhtar of any wrongdoing.
As a cricketer, Akhtar played 51 first class matches and took 187 wickets in 51 matches. He represented Rawalpindi and Services between 1959-60 and 1975-76.