By: Chandrashekar Bhat
Pakistan veteran Aleem Dar stepped down 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 one-day internationals – both world records – in addition to 69 Twenty20 internationals.
“The veteran umpire 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.
Dar’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.
Dar, 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,” Dar 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 Dar’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 of Umpires.