LAHORE: Pakistan’s veteran Aleem Dar stepped down on Thursday from the ICC Elite Panel of Umpires after officiating in a record number of international cricket matches during his distinguished career.
The 58-year-old stood in 144 Tests and 222 ODIs — both world records — in addition to 69 T20 Internationals.
“The veteran umpire [Aleem] Dar has stepped down after 19 years on the Elite Panel, standing in a record 435 men’s international matches,” the International Cricket Council (ICC) said in a press release.
Aleem’s first international match as an Elite Panel umpire was in 2002 and a year later he stood in the 2003 World Cup in South Africa.
Aleem, who took up umpiring after playing first-class cricket in Pakistan, said he was honoured to have officiated international matches.
“It has been a long journey, but I have enjoyed every bit of it,” Aleem was quoted in the ICC release.
“I have had the pleasure and honour of umpiring the world over and what I have achieved is something I did not even dream of when I started in the profession.”
ICC chief executive Geoff Allardice praised Aleem’s contribution to the sport.
“Aleem’s contribution to international cricket and to the ICC has been truly remarkable. Consistently elite performances over such a long period saw him enjoy enormous respect across all involved in international cricket,” said Allardice.
The ICC said South Africa’s Adrian Holdstock and Pakistan’s Ahsan Raza have been added to the Elite Panel. Ahsan has replaced Aleem.
Meanwhile, Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Management Committee Najam Sethi congratulated Ahsan on his promotion to the ICC Elite Panel of Umpires and has also thanked Aleem for his services.
Ahsan, 48, has been a member of the ICC International Panel of Umpires since 2010 and is the first to reach the 50 T20 Internationals mark as an umpire. Overall, he has umpired in 72 T20Is, along with seven Tests and 41 ODIs.
“It is a moment of great pride and joy for the whole nation that Ahsan Raza has become the third Pakistan umpire to be appointed to the ICC Elite Panel of Umpires. I want to congratulate Ahsan on this wonderful achievement and I am sure he will continue to work hard with dedication and passion to enhance the image and profile of this noble profession,” Sethi said.
“I also want to congratulate Aleem on his successful career as an elite panelist. He was the first Pakistani to become a member of the ICC Elite Panel of Umpires, and has established himself as one of the most respected and highly-qualified umpires in the business.”
Published in Dawn, March 17th, 2023