Dubai, Mar 16 (IANS): Veteran Pakistan match official Aleem Dar has stepped down as an international umpire after 19 years on the Elite panel, standing in a record 435 mens international matches.
The 54-year-old former Pakistan first-class cricketer has been on the ICC Elite Panel since its inception in the year 2002 and has officiated in 144 Tests from 2003 to 2023, 222 ODIs, 69 T20Is and 5 Women's T20Is during his chequered career.
He has officiated in more Tests and ODIs than any other umpire and is second in T20Is, behind compatriot Ahsan.
Dar reflected on his career and thanked his colleagues over the years.
"It has been a long journey, but I have enjoyed every bit of it. I have had the pleasure and honour of umpiring the world over and what I have achieved is something I did not even dream of when I started in the profession," Dar said.
"Though I am still keen to continue as an international umpire, I felt it was now the right time, after 19 years on the road to step away from the Elite panel and provide an opportunity to someone from the International Panel. My message to umpires the world over is to work hard, maintain discipline and never stop learning," he was quoted as saying in a release by ICC.
Dar thanked the ICC, PCB and his colleagues for their support over the years.
"I thank the ICC, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and my colleagues on the panel for their support over the years. I would also like to thank my family; without their support, I could not have gone on for so long. I look forward to continuing to serve the game as an umpire".
ICC Chief Executive Geoff Allardice congratulated Aleem for a highly successful career.
"Aleem's contribution to international cricket and the ICC has been truly remarkable. Consistently elite performances over such a long period saw him enjoy enormous respect across all involved in international cricket. I wish Aleem all the best for the future and I am sure his involvement in the game will continue for many years to come," Allardyce said in a release.
Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Najam Sethi congratulated Aleem Dar on his outstanding career.
"I want to congratulate Aleem Dar on his successful career as an elite panellist. He was the first Pakistani to become a member of the ICC Elite Panel of Umpires way back in 2004 and since then, he has established himself as one of the most respected and highly-qualified umpires in the business.
"Throughout his outstanding career, he earned worldwide appreciation and accolades through his work ethic, undivided commitment to the game, good decision-making and excellent man-management skills. He will remain as one of the best and finest to have ever served on the elite panel," he said.
"Aleem has been a role model for umpires across generations. The PCB will be very fortunate to make the most of his presence and availability by integrating him into our system so that he can groom, mentor and tutor young umpires which, in turn, will help in significant improvement in the quality of umpiring in our domestic cricket and also produce umpires who can go on to represent Pakistan in the international and elite panels," Sethi added.