When we talk about cricket, we talk about the great sixes and fours shot by the batsmen, technique of the bowler and how great one team is. But how often we talk about umpires. Umpires play a key role in cricket matches as they hold the authority to take crucial decisions during a match, which has a bearing on the final result.
Cricket has given birth to some prolific umpires’ overtime. They are worth the mention as umpiring is nowhere near an easy job. During high-intense cricket matches, the players are under a lot of pressure no doubt, but so as the umpires. Their every decision and action get scanned.
Without having any uncertainty, they’re the ones keeping gameplay and peace based on the tenets of cricket. Some misjudgements also come away from their sides, which, consequently, place any team in a difficult position when they have been really close with their winning service as they’re also human beings. Afterall, umpires are under maximum pressure as every decision they make comes under the scanner. Let us take a look at some of Cricket’s best umpires.
Stephen Anthony Bucknor or Steve Bucknor was one of cricket’s most experienced umpires. Born in the year 1946, Bucknor was initially a football referee. He then took to umpiring in cricket games at the age of 45. His first test match as an umpire was in the year 1989 in a test between West Indies and India. He also officiated in his first ODI in that same year, again between West Indies and India. He comes with 181 ODIs under his belt and an exceptional amount of 128 test matches. He was given the Order of Jamaica, Commander Class, in the area of sports” for “superb services. This well-known umpire declared his retirement in 2009.
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Harold Dennis Bird called Dickie Bird, came to be on April 19, 1933 in Yorkshire. He worked in a coal mine and was a school dropout. Dickie’s first love was football, which he needed to quit after enduring an injury playing. He began playing county cricket and then took to cricket. Afterwards, he was signed up Yorkshire, along with his home county. Dickie Bird officiated in Yorkshire in a test match between England and New Zealand. From then onwards, he has gone on to officiate in 66 test matches which was once upon a time a record. Umpire Dickie Bird stood out there in the centre for three world cup finals-1975, 1979 and 1983. He has umpired 69 One Day Internationals. He received the Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 2012 for his contributions to the game of cricket and charity. In his last test match in 1996, he was given a guard of honor by the Indian and English players. Umpire Dickie Bird is undoubtedly cricket’s greatest umpire, as he earned plenty of respect in the cricket arena.
David Shepherd, born on December 27 1940, is best known as one of the world’s most popular umpires. He began his profession as a first class cricketer who played county cricket for 14 years as a middle order batsman for Gloucestershire. His debut test as an umpire was in the 1985 Ashes Series, the fourth Test at Old Trafford, Manchester. He was best known as the light-hearted, bubbly umpire amongst teams and coaches. An interesting fact about David Shepherd was whenever did a little jig or hop whenever any score would reach 111. In his long career, he officiated in 172 ODIs, which included World Cup finals in 1999, 2003 and 2007. His test tally stands at 92 tests. He died due to lung cancer. A tragic end to a phenomenal life.
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Simon James Arthur Taufel, was born on 21 January 1971 in St Leonards, New South Wales. Currently retired, he had a strong career as an Australian cricket umpire at the international level. Taufel made his international debut in the year 1999 in an ODI between Ausralia and Sri Lanka. He then went on to make his test debut in the year 2000 between Australia and West Indies. Famously, he bagged five consecutive ICC Umpire of the Year awards between 2004 and 2008 for which people started considering him as one of cricket’s finest umpires. On 26 September 2012 he announced his retirement from international cricket after the 2012 ICC World Twenty20 final and would be taking new role of Umpire Performance and Training Manager. Taufel has umpired in 74 tests, 174 ODIs and 34 T20s before he announced his retirement.
Aleem Dar was born in the year 1968 in Pakistan. The Pakistani umpire started his umpiring profession when he was just 30. He first started as an international umpire in 2000, debuting between Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Two years later he was selected into ICC’s panel of umpires. Aleem Dar has officiated in 74 test matches and 151 ODIs till date and continues to do so. At present, he is cricket’s most successful umpire. He won three consecutive ICC Umpire of the Year awards in 2009, 2010 and 2011. He had a brilliant World Cup 2011 as he gave 15 consecutive correct decisions that won a battle against DRS challenges.
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Brent Fraser Bowden, popularly known as Billy Bowden was born in the year 1963.The kiwi umpire has made a strong mark as an international level umpire. His first ODI as an umpire was in 1995 between New Zealand and Sri Lanka. He then made his test debut as an umpire in 2000 between New Zealand and Australia. Billy still umpires at present and his record have hit 75 ODIs and 181 tests with 19 T20s to go with it. Billy Bowden was drafted into the ICC Elite Umpires Panel in the year 2003. Billy is best known for the unique and bizarre umpiring signals that he undertakes, especially the dance jig that precedes his SIX” signal and his crooked index finger to adjudge a batsman out.
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Daryl John Harper was born in the year 1951.Hailing from Australia; he has gone to score a perfect international career as an umpire. He started his umpiring stint in the year 1983 and was the first umpire from Australia to be selected into the Elite Umpires Panel of the ICC. Harper had a long umpiring career between the years 1998 and 2011. He was forced into retirement in 2011 from all formats of the game as there were claims his umpiring standards had hit an all-time low. But then again, Harper had a brilliant career as an umpire. He officiated in 94 tests and 174 ODI’s in total. An umpiring career lasting from 1983 to 2011, he indeed will go down as one of cricket’s finest umpires.
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Rudi Koertzen was born in South Africa in the year 1949. He became an umpire in the year 1981, officiating in domestic games for a start. Rudi broke into the international arena in the year 1992 when he umpired in his first ODI between South Africa and India. During that same tour, he made his test debut, again in a game between South Africa and India. Rudi took the umpiring standards to higher levels and became a full-time ICC umpire in the years 1997 and also soon became a part of the Elite Umpires Panel. In his career, he has officiated 108 tests and 206 ODIs along-with 14 t20s. He was also the first umpire to umpire in 200 ODIs. Rudi has plenty of records as an umpire, but one will always remember him for his “slow-death” motion of raising his finger to adjudge a batsman out.
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Best known as Gunner by his colleagues and people around him, Ian Gould was born in England in the year 1957. He has gone on to represent England as an international umpire and has been quite successful at the high levels. Gould has also represented the English team that used his services of being a left-handed wicket-keeper batsman. Interestingly, Ian Gould has had amazing football connections too. He has represented one of England’s best clubs Arsenal as a goalkeeper, which is why he is nicknamed Gunner. His first test as an umpire was in 2008 when he officiated a game between South Africa and Bangladesh. However, he made is umpire debut in ODI’s much earlier in 2006 in a game between England and Sri Lanka. Gould has had a good international career as an umpire, standing in 30 tests and 73 ODIs so far. However, he was much talked about in his early days when he wrongly gave Sachin out on 99 at the Rose Bowl in 2007 in a game between India and England. But all that played down, and Gould has crafted a decent career till today.
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Anthony Lloyd Hill, better known in the circuit. He was born in 1951 in Auckland, New Zealand. A kiwi by birth, Tony Hill has had a prolific career as an umpire on the international stage and he continues to do so. He first officiated in an ODI match played between New Zealand and Zimbabwe in 1998 followed by his first test match as umpire in 2001 played between New Zealand and Bangladesh. 2009 was a happy year for him as he was drafted into the ICC Elite Umpires