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Aleem Dar completes two decades of int’l umpiring career

April 05, 2020

LAHORE: Playing or supervising any game for 20 years is not a small achievement and those who have reached this stage of their respective careers must be considered greats and acknowledged appropriately.

Obviously, one has to demonstrate some extraordinary form, fitness and above all great amount of consistency to extend a career to this far. Pakistan’s iconic umpire Aleem Dar, who has gained numerous rare distinctions over the years, reached yet another feat when he completed two decades of his illustrious international umpiring career.

Aleem, who has stood in 386 international matches including 132 Tests, 208 ODIs and 46 T20 Int’ls so far, joined the elite club of umpires with 20-year international career on Feb 21, 2020 when he took the field to officiate first game of 2-match Test series between New Zealand and India at Wellington, New Zealand but incidentally his remarkable feat went unnoticed due to rapidly growing Covid-19 pandemic. Aleem, who launched his international career on Feb 16, 2000 in an ODI match between Pakistan and Sri Lanka at Gujranwala, became fifth Pakistani and 21st umpire of the world to attain this wonderful feat.

Before him, Pakistan’s four retired umpires Shujauddin Siddiqi (23 years and 308 days), Javed Aktar (22/226), Mahboob Shah (21/284) and Shakoor Rana (21/282) have also performed international umpiring duties for over two decades. Interestingly, not a single umpire from Pakistan’s arch-rivals India could get place in this select band of umpires. India’s VK Ramaswamy remained his country’s longest-serving international umpire with a period little over 18 years from Nov 9, 1983 to Jan 22, 2002.

Veteran Rudi Koertzen is South Africa’s umpire with longest career with over 17 years period spanning from Dec 9, 1992 to Jul 24, 2010.

Australia’s Alfred Jones is placed 4th in list of longest serving umpires but he could supervise only seven Test matches in a career exceeding over 25 years. Jones, who began his Test umpiring career at the age of 44 years and 188 days at Sydney, lost a long period of eight years from 1912 to 1920 due to World War I.

Aleem Dar, who broke retired great West Indian Steve Bucknor’s record of most Test matches by an umpire at Lord’s on August 15, 2019, is also on the verge of breaking most ODIs world record. Aleem has so far stood in 208 ODI matches and requires only two matches to go beyond South African Rudi Koertzen’s mark of 209 ODI matches. It is expected that Aleem, who is placed second in the T20 match list with 46 games behind Ahsan Raza (49 T20s), will surpass Rudi’s mark of 209 ODI matches as soon as the international cricket matches resume after coronavirus break.