Ashes Series Toughest to Stand in, Says Dar

SHARJAH — Umpiring is one of the most thankless jobs in the world and the men in white and black go through many tough phases while performing 
their duty.

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By Liaqat Ali

Published: Fri 19 Feb 2010, 12:23 AM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 2:31 AM

The lot of a modern international cricket umpire is not an enviable one. Every decision they make is referred, utilising technology never dreamt of in the past. The problem is, the more technology introduced into the game, the more the human frailty of umpires is exposed. Their every mistake is filmed from every possible angle and discussed by TV commentators and armchair critics.

Aleem Dar from Pakistan is the No. 1 umpire in the world and while talking to Khaleej Times he shed some light on the profession.

“I was getting nominated for last four-five years but failed to win the top position. Now I have won the prize and it is a great honour for me and for Pakistan as well.

“To remain No. 2 for such a long time is also sometimes painful. The main thing in umpiring is to remain consistent and thank God Almighty, I have performed well as an umpire. I started my umpiring in 2004 and faced no problem in the profession.

“I supervised a World Cup final, two Champions Trophy finals and a women’s final. These big tournaments are great rewards for me. I feel honoured that the ICC has reposed faith in me to stand in these matches.

“Personally, I am happy with the referral system because we get a chance to rectify the mistakes.

“Technology is being introduced in every game in the world.”

Dar and Wasim Akram studied in Islamia College Civil Lines, Lahore, and played together for its cricket team.

Dar said: “The umpiring needs calmness and as person I am a very calm person. In every day life and at home I hardly get disturbed by the surroundings. It is helping me in my profession as well. “Umpires need an extra effort to keep themselves cool. Especially, when an umpire commits a mistake on the field and it tells upon his nerves. It is very important to be confident and not get distracted by the events out there in the aftermath.

“I try to keep myself fit and whenever I am free I play cricket for my P and T Gymkhana Club in Lahore. Recently, I scored 141 against Income Tax team in a Grade Two match.”

When asked about the toughest tournament in the world, Dar said: “Ashes is one of the toughest series in the world because it is played with a greater intensity. “India-Pakistan series is also one of the hard-fought event in the world of cricket and umpires feel a bit of pressure while supervising these tournaments.”

Dar, who played first class and wanted to represent Pakistan in Tests, said: “I was inspired by Imran Khan and wanted to play Test cricket but failed to reach the top level because my father was a police servant and he was posted at far off places in Pakistan.

“I failed to get a chance to remain in Lahore and it affected my plans. But I joined the field of umpiring and I am quite satisfied with my performance.”

While commenting on Afghanistan’s performance, Dar said: “It is a great achievement to qualify for T20 World Cup with a limited facilities in Afghanistan. “But it is a T20 game and teams are judged by their performance in the longer version of the game and I hope if they get a chance they will perform well because Kabir Khan has done wonders with this team. He is the main force behind Afghanistan’s rise in the world cricket.”

Dar officiated the 199th match played on Sharjah Cricket Stadium and felt elated by saying: “Sharjah is going to make history by staging 200 one-dayers. It is a great honour for Sharjah and for UAE. All credit goes to Abdul Rehman Bukhatir, the custodian of cricket in UAE. “But the ground needs renovation and a better outfield. I hope cricket will make a comeback here and golden days will be revived.”

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