Cricket umpire Aleem Dar retires after record 435 men’s games

DUBAI (AP): Cricket umpire Aleem Dar of Pakistan has retired after officiating in a record 435 men’s international matches.

Dar was replaced by countryman Ahsan Raza, who joined newcomer Adrian Holdstock of South Africa on an expanded 12-man panel of elite International Cricket Council umpires on Thursday.

The 54-year-old Dar had been on the elite panel since its inception in 2002, and officiated in a record 144 test matches, 222 one-day internationals and 69 Twenty20s.

“It has been a long journey, but I have enjoyed every bit of it,” Dar said. “I have had the pleasure and honor 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 was the first Pakistani umpire to be part of the elite panel and stood in the finals of the T20 World Cups in 2010 and 2012. He officiated in five 50-over World Cups and seven T20 World Cups.

He was named the best umpire in the world for three successive years from 2009-11.

ICC chief executive Geoff Allardice lauded Dar’s contribution.

“Consistently elite performances over such a long period saw him enjoy enormous respect across all involved in international cricket,” Allardice said.

Raza has stood in seven tests, 41 ODIs and 72 T20s.

Holdstock has officiated in five tests, 42 ODIs and 48 T20s.

Both umpires officiated in the last two men’s T20 World Cups in the United Arab Emirates and Australia.