Pakistan’s Aleem Dar steps down from ICC’s Elite Panel of Umpires

Pakistan's Aleem Dar steps down from ICC's Elite Panel of Umpires
Aleem Dar’s long and storied journey as an umpire on the ICC’s Elite Panel has come to an end. The 54-year old has stepped down after officiating in a record 435 men’s Tests, ODIs and T20Is including four World Cup finals. It doesn’t mean his career in international cricket is over though. Dar can still work matches played at home in Pakistan any time the PCB picks him to do so. He may also get to go on tour if he finds a place in the International Panel of Umpires – one rung down from Elite – when it is reconstituted.

“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,” Dar said in a statement released by the ICC on Thursday.

“Though I am still keen to continue as an international umpire, I felt it was now the right time, after 19 years on the road to step away from the Elite panel and provide an opportunity to someone from the International Panel. My message to umpires the world over is to work hard, maintain discipline and never stop learning.”

Dar has officiated more men’s Tests (144) and ODIs (222) than anybody else and was the first Pakistan umpire to be named on the Elite Panel back when it was first established in 2002. He stood in the final of the ODI World Cup in 2007 and 2011 and the T20 World Cup in 2010 and 2012. He won the David Shepherd trophy for umpire of the year three times, back-to-back, starting 2009.

ESPNcricinfo understands that Dar had been considering stepping down for a while now, since before even the Covid-19 pandemic. But the ensuing lack of games and travel restrictions meant he never acted on it.

“I thank the ICC, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and my colleagues on the panel for their support over the years,” Dar said. “I would also like to thank my family; without whose support I could not have gone on for so long. I look forward to continuing to serve the game as an umpire”.

The ICC welcomed two new umpires onto their Elite Panel, taking its number from 11 to 12. Adrian Holdstock (South Africa) and Ahsan Raza (Pakistan), who happens to be the only person to stand in more men’s T20Is than Dar’s 69, join a list that includes Chris Gaffaney (New Zealand), Kumar Dharmasena (Sri Lanka), Marais Erasmus (South Africa), Michael Gough (England), Nitin Menon (India), Paul Reiffel (Australia), Richard Illingworth (England), Richard Kettleborough (England), Rodney Tucker (Australia), Joel Wilson (West Indies).

Holdstock has officiated in five Tests, 42 ODIs and 48 T20Is while Ahsan has stood in seven Tests, 41 ODIs and 72 T20Is. Both umpires were part of the panels for the men’s T20 World Cups in 2021 and 2022.

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