Aleem Dar: More Than Just an Umpire

The term Umpire comes from an old French word ‘nompere’ which means peerless or odd. This is consistent with the fact that an Umpire is not a member of the team; and is impartial. However he is an authoritative figure, the decision maker of all events happening on the cricket field according to the Law of Cricket. So clearly there would be no game without an umpire which shows the important position he holds. Pakistan has given the world some of the greatest cricketers of all times, it has also been fortunate enough to produce one of the world’s top cricket umpires; none other than Aleem Dar.

Aleem Dar: From First Class Cricketer to World Class Umpire

Aleem Sarwar Dar began his international career with an ODI between Pakistan and Sri Lanka in Gujranwala on 16th February 2000. Before that he played first class cricket in the capacity of a right-handed batsman and leg-break bowler. He made his debut in February 1987, and played for teams such as Gujranwala Cricket Association, Pakistan Railways and Allied Bank.

In 2003, he was chosen to umpire in the Cricket World Cup, which became his defining moment as he made no mistakes. This was appreciated by ICC and he umpired till the semifinals. Later on in the year he stood his first Test match between Bangladesh and England at Dhaka (he hasn’t supervised any Test match in Pakistan because he is a neutral umpire). On 17th October 2007 he stood his 100th ODI which was between Australia and India in Mumbai. He reached this milestone in just 7 years, making him the first Pakistani in doing so, and the tenth umpire in the history of cricket. He has also umpired in the World Cups’ of 2007 and 2015. He started supervising T20 matches in 2009, but not a single one in Pakistan. However on 12thSeptember 2017 he got the desired opportunity as he stood his 42nd T20 in Lahore’s Gaddafi stadium where Pakistan faced World XI.  

Awards Won by Aleem Dar 

He was nominated in 2005 and 2006 for the ‘Umpire of the Year’ award, and then received it for the first time in 2009. In doing so he ended Australia’s Simon Taufel’s successive 5 year run. He went on to receive it in 2010 and 2011 as well. Also in 2010 Government of Pakistan awarded him with Pride of Performance. While in 2013, he received Sitara-e-Imtiaz. He has also received the ‘Bronze Bails Award’(which is awarded by ICC to umpires who have officiated 100 ODIs) as well as the ‘Golden Bails Award’ (which again is awarded by ICC to umpires who have officiated 100 Test matches).

Aleem Dar on the Elite Panel of ICC Umpires

In 2004, Aleem Dar became the first Pakistani to be selected for the Elite Panel of ICC Umpires, which is a board of high performing umpires who officiate in international ODIs and Test matches, which was established in 2002. He is also the only Pakistani to be still on the panel.

His Records

  • Second highest number of appearances in test matches i.e. 117
  • Third highest in ODIs i.e. 189
  • Highest T20s i.e. 42.

However last year on 2nd January, during the second Test between Sri Lanka and South Africa at Cape Town, he has already achieved the record of the umpire with the most supervised matches [(332) i.e. Test matches (109), ODIs (182) and T20s (41)].

And it was on 2nd January 2016, in the second Test between England and South Africa where he completed 100th Test match, becoming the third and youngest umpire in cricket history. On the occasion Geoff Allardice, ICC Chairman and General Manager, Cricket, said: “Aleem has been one of the best and most respected umpires in world cricket for many years. It is not easy to umpire at the elite level for more than a decade, and his professionalism, consistency and reliability have allowed him to perform so well for so long. Aleem is in esteemed company alongside two other umpiring greats, Steve Bucknor and Rudi Koertzen, and he should be extremely proud of his achievements. He is widely respected in the cricket community and all involved in the game will join me in congratulating him on reaching this significant milestone”

For the Love of Cricket: Aleem Dar Cricket Academy

Aleem Dar began his academy in 2013 and it is situated in Johar Town, Lahore. It is one of the top cricket club’s in the city. It was formed with the objective of not only instructing young cricket enthusiasts but to also provide deserving and hearing-impaired youngsters (free of cost) training that is required for playing the national sport so that they could avail opportunities. It is for ages 7 to 17, and currently about a hundred players have enrolled which include 25-30 who are deaf.

In 2016, three of the players were part of Pakistan’s National Deaf Cricket team, which won the Hellenic Premier League trophy at Corfu, Greeceagainst India. While just last month; four more have been selected for the team.

Some key features of the academy are:

  • A professional cricket ground, with the facility of flood lights.
  • Jogging Tracks
  • Gymnasium
  • Basketball Court
  • Individual & Group coaching for batting, bowling, fielding, wicket keeping and mental skills

At present he coaches young umpires yet he would definitely like to establish an academy exclusively for umpires.

For the Love of People: Dar’s Delighto

On 30th December 2017, Aleem Dar inaugurated his restaurant at the PIA Cooperative Housing Society, Lahore. Many cricket and media personalities attended the event. Those who were unable to attend sent him their well wishes which even included international players such as Steve Warne, Steve Smith, David Warner and many others.

It boasts of a warm and modern ambience, with indoor and outdoor seating arrangements. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served. Take out and home delivery is also offered.

The objective of establishing the restaurant is three-fold and very impressive. Firstly it is to provide people with a variety of tasty cuisines at affordable prices; secondly to create job opportunities. And thirdly generate funds for the development of a school and perhaps even a sports complex for hearing impaired children.

Future Plans of Aleem Dar

He is in top form, has no plans of retiring anytime soon and is fully looking forward to umpiring in World Cup 2019. So one is confident that he will indeed bring more laurels for Pakistan as well as groom budding umpires into Aleem Dar’s of the future!