Umpiring is one of the most crucial and difficult parts of any sport. And in Cricket, umpires have it more difficult than any other Sport. It takes some serious talent to judge if the batsman has edged the ball from as far as 22 yards or to give an LBW decision.
But despite the difficulty level of their job, umpiring is not the most popular profession in Cricket. Even a diehard Cricket fan might struggle to name more than five famous Umpires in the history of Cricket.
And that is a shame. Despite DRS and various technological advancements, a lot depends on an umpire in the game of Cricket. One bad decision can swing the game the wrong way and hence, an umpire has to be at his best throughout the game.
Umpires are expected to give out the right decision, every time, irrespective of the intense pressure from the fans or the players. The kind of intense focus and decision-making capabilities that goes into the umpiring profession is rarely seen in any other job.
Along with being an umpire, Nitin Menon has been a cricketer before and represented Madhya Pradesh in List A cricket. He replaced Nigel Llong in June 2020 and was promoted to the Elite Panel of ICC Umpires. Menon even officiated matches during the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup, 2020 in Australia.
Having started umpiring from 2017, he in comparison to many others has lesser on-field experience. Despite that, he is a respected umpire and comes under the list of bests. Moreover, he was appreciated by the entire cricket fraternity for his marvellous umpiring during England’s tour of India in 2021. Menon has officiated a total of 71 matches in the IPL up till now.
Chettithody Shamsuddin is one of the most esteemed and liked umpires in the world of cricket. He is a member of the Emirates International Panel of ICC Umpires in the on-field category. Shamsuddin officiates in ODIs and T20Is. In 2013, he was designated as the Indian representative to the International Panel of ICC Umpires in the third umpire category. Officiating since 2012 in the IPL, he has umpired 89 matches in all.
Sundaram Ravi’s name is well established under the list of IPL success stories. He was the second Indian umpire after Srinivasaraghavan Venkataraghavan to become a part of the ICC Elite Panel of Umpires. Ravi served as a member there between 2015 and 2019. He has officiated in over 100 international matches across all formats.
He was one of the umpires to officiate matches during the 2015 and 2019 Cricket World Cup. In addition to this, he has been associated with the IPL since 2009 and has officiated the most number of matches, i.e., 131.
Kumar Dharmasena is a Sri Lankan cricket umpire and former international cricketer. He played Tests and ODIs for Sri Lanka. Interestingly, Dharmasena is the only individual to represent an ICC World Cup Final both as a player (1996) and an umpire (2015)! He was a part of the 1996 World Cup winning Sri Lankan squad. Umpiring his first international match in 2009, he is the youngest Sri Lankan to umpire an international match. In 2011, Dharmasena umpired the World Cup and was later appointed to the Elite Panel of ICC Umpires.
we have Simon Taufel up next! He is a former Australian cricket umpire who was a member of the ICC Elite Umpire Panel. One of the greats, he won five consecutive ICC Umpire of the Year Awards between 2004 and 2008. Moreover, Taufel is the youngest person to receive the ICC’s Bronze Bails Award for umpiring 100 ODIs. He officiated the IPL from 2009 to 2013, thereby umpiring 55 matches across the years.
We all know him and we all love him – the ever-entertaining Billy Bowden. The Kiwi umpire is famous for his dancing signals to indicate four and six. And his famous crooked finger to adjudge a batsman out became so famous that he featured in an advertisement during the 2011 World Cup.
Bowden made his ODI debut in 1995 during New Zealand vs Sri Lanka game at Hamilton. He also became part of ICC’s very first Elite Panel in 2002 and was a regular in almost every ICC tournament for the next decade or so.
Another household name amongst Cricket fans and the only active umpire in this list, Aleem Dar is a legend of the game ever before his retirement. The Pakistani umpire made his debut in 2000 and is still going strong after 19 years.
Dar has officiated 125 tests so far, just three less than the current all-time record holder Steve Bucknor. With 200 ODIs under his belt, the Pakistani umpire is second in this list as well, just behind Rudi Koertzen. But Dar holds the record for the most T20s officiated with 43 in total.
Indians don’t like him a lot for apparently incorrectly giving marching orders to Sachin Tendulkar on more than one occasion. And above all, his involvement in the infamous “Monkeygate” during India’s tour of Australia in 2008.
But take nothing away from Steve Bucknor who has had a fantastic 20-year career in umpiring. The Jamaican will go down as one of the finest umpires in cricket without a doubt.
Another legendary name in the umpiring world, David Shepherd was a fine batsman during his time. The Englishman has scored 10,000 plus runs in First-class cricket. After retiring as a player in 1979, Shepherd turned to the umpire and quickly became a part of the 1983 World Cup.
The Englishman made his test debut in 1985 during The Ashes in England. In his 22-year career, Shepherd officiated 92 tests and 172 ODIs. Shepherd was the first umpire to stand in for the matches of all test-playing nations. Shepherd officiated in three straight World Cup finals from 1996 to 2003.
Harold Dennis “Dickie” Bird – Arguably the best cricket umpire of all time! The Englishman was loved by everyone in the cricket world, fans, opponents, players, and experts during his 23-year umpiring career.
Having to give up football due to an injury, Bird turned to cricket where he had a below-average career. The Englishman then turned to umpiring in 1970 and made his international debut in 1973.
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