Aleem Dar breaks Steve Bucknor's record of most Tests as umpire

Born in Punjab, Dar played a decade of first-class cricket before taking up umpiring in 2003.

Aleem Dar
Umpire Aleem Dar. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

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Pakistan’s cricket team might have been humiliated in its recent tour Down Under but the country’s umpire — Aleem Dar — scripted history on Thursday. The 51-year-old official stood in his 129th Test match in Perth featuring Australia and New Zealand, taking him past the legendary Steve Bucknor in the list of umpires having officiated the most number of long-format games.

Dar has now officiated in 129 games compared to Bucknor’s 128. Although the West Indian was in business for 20 years as against Dar’s 16. South Africa’s Rudi Koertzen is at the third position with 108 Tests under his belt.

Aleem Dar is second in ODIs and T20Is

Born in Punjab, Dar played a decade of first-class cricket before taking up umpiring in 2003 when he made his debut in Dhaka during England’s tour of Bangladesh. In the ODIs, Dar is just two games of short of touching the table-topper Koertzen who has officiated in 209 games.

In the T20Is, too, he is the second rank-holder with 46 games, just one short of compatriot Ahsan Raza’s 47. Added across the formats, however, Dar stands first with 381 matches, 50 more than the second-ranked Koertzen and 72 more than Bucknor.

But Dar is not carried away with the statistics. He did not forget to pay his respect to Bucknor calling him his “idol” and added that it has just started sinking in now that he would better the retired umpire’s record in his next game which is a day-night affair.

He also remembered some of the historic matches that he has officiated, including the game between the West Indies and England in Antigua in 2004 in which Brian Lara slammed an unbeaten 400 and the 2006 ODI in Johannesburg where South Africa successfully chased a 430-plus total against Australia.

“Steve Bucknor was my idol and it’s only sinking in now that I will have officiated in more Test matches than him. In my international career, I’ve had the good fortune of watching Brian Lara’s 400* & South Africa’s epic chase of 434 in an ODI in Johannesburg.” Dar said.

“This is one milestone I had never thought of when I began my umpiring career. It is a truly amazing feeling and a high point of my life when I take the field here in Australia; thousands of miles from where I started my international career at home in Gujranwala,” he added in an ICC statement.

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