In cricket, umpires play a very crucial role, probably they play the most important role. The image of the game hugely decides on their umpiring decisions.
The error-less umpires are hugely favourite for everyone – for the players and fans. In the long international cricket history, we have seen some legendary umpires who are loved by everyone.
After his playing career (1986/87-1997/98), where he appeared in 17 first-class matches and 18 List A games, former Pakistan domestic cricketer Aleem Dar took up the umpiring role. Since 2004, Dar is a member of the Elite Panel of ICC Umpires – the first Pakistani to be part of the Elite Panel of ICC Umpires.
As an umpire, Dar made his debut in international cricket in 2000, and he is still handling this role very well. Till the date, Dar has officiated in a total of 485 men’s international matches (386 matches as an on-field umpire and 99 matches as a TV umpire) and five Women’s T20I matches (all as an on-field umpire). He also officiated in the big tournaments like ICC Cricket World Cup, ICC World T20, ICC Women’s T20 World Cup, ICC Champions Trophy etc. including finals.
Dar is famous to provide many accurate decisions even in the tough moments of the game. He won three successive ICC Umpire of the Year (David Shepherd Trophy) awards from 2009 to 2011.
Former Australian cricket umpire Simon Taufel was very famous for his error-less umpiring, and that too when the DRS wasn’t introduced. For many times, he stunned with his correct decisions in the close calls.
While the ICC Umpire of the Year (David Shepherd Trophy) was introduced in 2004, Taufel won it in all the first five years. It is a big prove why he was hugely favourite among cricket fans.
Taufel officiated in men’s international cricket from 1999 to 2012, where he was an on-field umpire in 282 matches and TV umpire in 67 games. During this period, Taufel also officiated in seven Women’s ODIs and two Women’s T20Is (all as an on-field umpire). He was a very familiar face in the big ICC events, who also officiated in the final stages of those prestigious global tournaments.
After retiring from the umpire role, Taufel served as the ICC’s Umpire Performance and Training Manager till October 2015.
The former English domestic cricketer Dickie Bird (played 93 first-class matches and two List A games between 1956 and 1964), who was also a footballer in his early days, was very famous as an umpire. Apart from his correct umpiring process, Bird was also famous for his friendly behaviour. He was famous both among the cricketers and fans.
Bird officiated in the international cricket from 1973 to 1996, where he was an on-field umpire in 135 international matches in men’s cricket and seven Women’s ODIs. He was the first umpire to officiate the three ICC Cricket World Cup finals.
New Zealand umpire Billy Bowden was very famous in the cricket world for his funny activities as an umpire on the field. He also introduced several regular umpiring signals in his own way, including raising the crooked-fingers, which was the result of his suffering from rheumatoid arthritis. However, Bowden was still famous for his error-less decisions.
While he was active as an international umpire from 1995 to 2016, Bowden served as an on-field umpire in 308 men’s international matches and TV umpire in 87 men’s international matches. Also, he further served as an on-field umpire in 43 women’s international matches and TV umpire in only women’s international match. In 2013, he was dropped from the ICC Elite Panel of Umpires.
After his playing days (282 first-class matches and 183 List A games from 1965 to 1979), the former English umpire David Shephard became very famous as an umpire. He was very favourite among the players and fans for his higher correct decisions and always maintaining friendly behaviour.
Shepherd was also famous for raising one foot during the batting side’s score of 111 runs, which is known as Nelson, which is considered as bad luck and Shepherd believed that a wicket could fall at that time.
During his umpiring career in international cricket from 1983 to 2005, Shepherd served as an on-field umpire in 264 men’s international matches and TV umpire in 16 men’s international matches. He also experienced only ODI as an on-field umpire in women’s cricket. In men’s international cricket, Shepherd was a very popular face, including in the final stage of any tournament. While Shepherd officiated in 22 tournament finals, it is still a record for an umpire.
The ICC Umpire of the Year award, which was introduced for the first time in 2004, has been named after David Shephard as it is called as the David Shephard Trophy.
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