Aleem Dar

Aleem Dar

Player Bio

Aleem Sarwar Dar, born on 6 June 1968 in Jhang, Punjab, Pakistan, is a name that resonates with respect and admiration in the world of cricket. Over the years, he has established himself as one of the most reliable and respected umpires in the international cricketing arena. His journey, however, began not as an umpire but as a cricketer. Before delving into his early life and entry into cricket, it's essential to understand the stature of the man. Aleem Dar is not just any cricket umpire; he is a former cricketer who transitioned into umpiring and went on to become a member of the Elite Panel of ICC Umpires. His accolades include winning the David Shepherd Trophy three consecutive times from 2009 to 2011. This recognition is a testament to his impeccable skills and dedication to the sport.

Early Life and Entry into Cricket

Born in Jhang, a city in the Punjab province of Pakistan, Aleem Dar's passion for cricket was evident from a young age. His early life was marked by the typical struggles and aspirations of a young boy dreaming of making it big in the world of cricket. He started his cricketing journey as a right-handed batsman and a leg-break bowler. His skills with the bat and ball were evident in his performances for various domestic teams.

From 1986 to 2009, Aleem Dar represented the Pakistan Railways team. He also played for Lahore City from 1988 to 1995, showcasing his prowess as a cricketer. His stint with Allied Bank Limited in 1995 and Gujranwala from 1997 to 1998 further solidified his reputation in the domestic circuit. Throughout his domestic career, Aleem Dar scored runs and took wickets, proving his mettle as an all-rounder. His top scores of 39 in first-class cricket and 37 in List A cricket might not seem monumental, but they were crucial in the context of the matches he played.

However, like many cricketers, Aleem Dar realised that his true calling lay elsewhere. While he had a respectable career as a cricketer, it was his transition to umpiring that would see him rise to global prominence.

In the world of cricket, where players often grab the limelight with their performances, umpires play an equally crucial role, ensuring the game's integrity. Aleem Dar's journey from being a cricketer to one of the most respected umpires is a testament to his dedication, hard work, and love for the game. His early life and entry into cricket laid the foundation for a career that would see him officiate in some of the most significant matches and tournaments worldwide.

Transition to Umpiring

After a decade-long playing career that never truly skyrocketed, Aleem Dar found his true calling in the realm of umpiring. In stark contrast to his playing days, his umpiring career took off rapidly. He made his debut as an umpire in an ODI in 2000 at the age of 32. Within a mere span of two years, his exceptional skills and sharp eye for detail led to his appointment to the ICC panel.

2003 was a pivotal year for Dar. He officiated in the World Cup and emerged with an enhanced reputation. His Test debut as an umpire followed in October of that year. He was immediately lauded for making sound decisions in challenging matches in Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. Given his rapid rise and consistent performance, it was hardly a surprise when he was promoted to the ICC's elite panel just six months later.

Unlike many of his contemporaries, Dar continued to play cricket, albeit not at the highest level, even while standing in international matches. There's an anecdote that he reportedly scored 82 the day after umpiring a Test in Mumbai in 2004. His style of umpiring is less demonstrative than some of his colleagues. He signals boundaries with a simple wave and gives a nod before declaring a batsman out. Despite his understated style, his presence on the field is always reassuring for players and spectators alike.

Major Achievements and Milestones

Aleem Dar's umpiring career is adorned with numerous accolades and recognitions. One of the most notable achievements is winning the David Shepherd Trophy for the ICC Umpire of the Year three consecutive times from 2009 to 2011. This recognition is a testament to his impeccable skills and unwavering dedication to the sport.

In April 2007, Dar had the honour of standing in the World Cup final. However, the match's farcical ending and a misinterpretation of the rules regarding bad light led to his suspension for the subsequent Twenty20 World Championships in September.

Notable Moments in His Umpiring Career

Throughout his illustrious career, Aleem Dar has been part of numerous memorable moments on the cricket field. One such moment was ahead of his first-ever home Test, where he expressed his feelings and experiences in an interview with ESPNcricinfo, shedding light on the intricacies of umpiring and the challenges it brings.

Another significant milestone was when he was set to break the record for the most ODIs as an on-field umpire. As of October 2020, the Pakistani official had stood in a staggering 387 international games, a world record in itself.

However, like any professional, Dar's career has not been without controversies. The World Cup final in 2007 was one such instance where the match's conclusion was mired in confusion, leading to his brief suspension. Yet, such moments have been few and far between in an otherwise stellar career.

Statistics and Records

Aleem Dar's umpiring career is not just about the number of matches he has officiated but also about the quality and consistency he has maintained throughout. Here are some of the notable statistics and records associated with his illustrious career:

ODI Matches: Aleem Dar has stood as an on-field umpire in a staggering 387 One Day International matches as of October 2020, setting a world record.
Test Matches: His presence in the Test arena is equally commendable, having officiated in 172 Test matches.
T20I Matches: In the shortest format of the game, T20 Internationals, Dar has been the on-field umpire for numerous matches, further cementing his versatility across all formats.
Awards and Recognitions: Dar has won the David Shepherd Trophy for the ICC Umpire of the Year three times consecutively from 2009 to 2011, a testament to his consistency and excellence.
World Cup Final: He had the honour of officiating in the World Cup final in 2007, a significant milestone for any umpire.

Aleem Dar's journey in the world of cricket, from a domestic player to one of the most respected umpires globally, is a tale of passion, dedication, and an unwavering commitment to the sport. His transition from playing to umpiring showcased his adaptability and deep understanding of the game.

His legacy is not just about the matches he has officiated or the awards he has won. It's about the respect he commands from players, fellow officials, and fans alike. His calm demeanour, coupled with an astute understanding of the game's intricacies, has made him a role model for aspiring umpires worldwide.

In a sport where players often steal the limelight, Aleem Dar's name stands out, reminding us of the crucial role umpires play in upholding the game's spirit and integrity. His career serves as an inspiration, a testament to what one can achieve with dedication, hard work, and a genuine love for the game.

How many matches has Aleem Dar officiated as an umpire?
As of October 2020, Aleem Dar has officiated in 387 ODIs, 172 Test matches, and numerous T20 Internationals.
Has Aleem Dar won any awards for his umpiring?
Yes, Aleem Dar has won the David Shepherd Trophy for the ICC Umpire of the Year three times consecutively from 2009 to 2011.
When did Aleem Dar make his debut as an umpire?
Aleem Dar made his debut as an umpire in an ODI in 2000.
Did Aleem Dar have a playing career before becoming an umpire?
Yes, Aleem Dar had a decade-long playing career as a middle-order batsman and leg-spinner before transitioning to umpiring.
Which notable matches has Aleem Dar officiated?
Among many notable matches, Aleem Dar officiated in the World Cup final in 2007.