Pakistani umpire Aleem Dar is set to break record of most Test matches as an umpire on Thursday (today) in the first Test match between Australia and New Zealand.
Aleem Dar had debuted in Dhaka in 2003 during England’s tour of Bangladesh and this would be his 129th Test match as an on-field umpire. He has also played first-class cricket for Pakistan. Jamaica’s Steve Bucknor has umpired in 128 Test matches.
Talking to ICC, the 51-year-old umpire said: “This is one milestone I had never thought of when I began my umpiring career. It is a truly amazing feeling and a high point of my life when I take the field here in Australia; thousands of miles from where I started my international career at home in Gujranwala.”
“Steve Bucknor was my idol and it is only sinking in now that I will have officiated in more Test matches than him. In the nearly two decades of my international career, I have had the good fortune of watching some memorable matches and achievements like Brian Lara’s Test knock of 400 not out and South Africa’s epic chase of Australia’s score of 434 in an ODI in Johannesburg in 2006.
“It has been a long journey which would not have been possible without the support of my family. I would like to take this opportunity to thank them as well as the International Cricket Council and the Pakistan Cricket Board for giving me the chances I got. I am also thankful to all my colleague match officials for their support over the years. I am committed to doing my best in the coming years and taking on more challenges.”
Dar had begun his one-day international career as umpire at his hometown Gujranwala during bilateral series between Pakistan and Sri Lanka. He is only two matches away to break the record of Rudi Koertzen (209 matches) in this format. He has also officiated in 46 Twenty20 Internationals.