Cricket is a sport that cannot be imagined without umpires. They perform the most difficult task in the match on the back of which the winner of the game is decided. The fans love cricket and they are well aware of the topmost cricketers across the globe. But it is very rarely found that any of those ardent lovers can tell five names of the umpire that ruled the cricket world with their precise decisions during the matches.
The umpire is an individual that stands on the bowling end throughout the match. They keep a close eye on the activity of the players. Their verdict used to be final until the DRS was introduced. However, the umpires’ importance hasn’t gone down with the teams given only limited chances to use the DRS wherein they can challenge the on-field umpire’s decision.
The umpire plays a decisive factor in the result of the game. In a long history of cricket, many umpires came, worked and retired. Some of them hogged the spotlight with their brilliant on-field umpiring while a few were involved in several controversies due to their poor decisions.
So, let’s list out the five umpires with zero haters in the history of cricket:
1. Simon Taufel
Simon Taufel, the former Aussie umpire is undoubtedly one of the best ever in the history of cricket. He made his debut as an umpire in the longer format back in 2000 from Boxing Day Test match between Australia and West Indies.
The former was known for his brilliant decisions. He was like a hawk-eye on the field. Sometimes in the middle of the game, he used to be spotted chirping with the players in order to chill them out as well. Even after the introduction of the DRS, very few decisions of Taufel were overturned which proves how good he was.
Simon Taufel is the only umpire in the history to win ICC Umpire of the Year Awards five times consecutively from 2004 to 2008. Later on, he bid adieu to international cricket back in 2012 at just the age of 41. He umpired in 74 Tests, 174 ODIs, 34 T20Is throughout his illustrious umpiring career.
2. David Shepherd
Late David Shepherd was another legendary umpire and a brilliant cricketer. He bid adieu to his competitive cricket career back in 1979 and shifted his focus towards umpiring. And he debuted as match official in 1983 in a World Cup match between Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
Shepherd took World Cricket by storm with his umpiring decisions that were unquestionable. He officiated in three consecutive World Cup finals i-e- 1996, 1999 and 2003. Interestingly, he was famous for raising his one foot when the batting side used to score 111 i.e.. nelson. Moreover, the score and its multiples (222, 333, etc…) is considered bad luck and he used to believe that a wicket will fall when any team reaches there.
He always looked in a cheerful mood, who earned the respect of the players to an extent. He umpired in 92 Tests and 172 ODIs and bid adieu to his umpiring career back in 2005. He passed away of lung cancer in October 2009. After that in a heartwarming gesture, ICC introduced an award for the best umpire of the year that was named as “The David Shepherd Trophy”.
3. Billy Bowden
Billy Bowden was born on April 11, 1970, in Auckland. He made his debut as an umpire in international cricket in 1995 from an ODI game between New Zealand and Sri Lanka. Bowden was one of the funniest on-field umpires that officiated in the sport thus far. He used to give sixes and boundaries by showing some hilarious dance moves during the game.
He was a lively figure on the field, who used to come out with some fun tricks to entertain the fans. Once, he hilariously showed red-card to former Aussie bowler Glenn McGrath as he was spotted sledging the batsmen while bowling. Other than his dance moves, he was pretty focussed about his work of giving accurate decisions in the match.
In 2002, he was the part of the ICC’s very first Elite Panel. Soon, he became a common figure in the tournaments organized by the International cricket council. He did umpiring in 84 Tests, 200 ODIs and 21 T20s before signing off as an umpire.
4. Dickie Bird
Harold Dennis “Dickie” Bird is one of the rare umpires, who had the fan following of his own. He was initially a footballer but due to injury, he had to leave that sports. Soon, he tried his hands as an umpire where he managed to reap out lots of success. The former umpire made his international debut back in 1971.
The players used to admire Bird and his humour on the field. There were very few instances when players used to disagree with his decisions. His fan following can be measured based on an instance that occurred during a World Cup game when one of the spectators came on the field to get Bird’s hat.
In 1996, he umpired in his last game between India and England. After the match, England players gave him a “Guard of honour” that is usually given to any legendary cricketer on their last game. He officiated in 66 Tests and 69 ODIs throughout his illustrious career. Afterwards, the government built his statue near his birthplace in Barnsley. Also, he received Member of the Order of British Empire in 1986.
5. Aleem Dar
Aleem Dar is currently active as an umpire and has worked hard to make his name in international cricket on the back of his umpiring. More or less, he has achieved a lot in the same. He made his debut back in 2000 and has completed 19 successful years. He also holds the record for umpiring in the most number of Test matches till date.
The 51-year-old also had the honour of officiating in the final of ICC World Cup, Champions Trophy and T20 World Cup. He won the best umpire of the year award three times in a row i-e- 2009, 2010 and 2011. Moreover, he also holds the record for officiating in the most number of T20Is with 43 games.
Being still active in the modern game, Aleem Dar would love to do his job with aplomb in the near future before bidding adieu as an umpire.
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