"I am very proud of winning laurels for my country" : Aleem Dar [PP Interview]


Hall of Famer
Dec 29, 2008
Aleem Sarwar Dar is an international umpire from Pakistan. He has as of now officiated in over 200 international matches, including the 2007 ICC Cricket World Cup Final. He is also a two-time winner of the prestigious ICC Umpire of the Year award.

PakPassion.net had the great pleasure of conducting an in-depth and exclusive interview with Mr. Dar, and had found more about his career path, and future ambitions.


PakPassion.Net: Firstly, congratulations on winning this prestigious award for the second time. A great honour for you, and for Pakistan - and a very well deserved one too. Your role as an umpire is a shining example for other umpires, both at the international level now and those aspiring to reach that level in the future.

A few questions from your many fans on PakPassion.net:

PakPassion.Net: Why did you become an umpire? What was the reason that prompted you to make this career choice?

Aleem Dar: Cricket was my childhood passion as it is for most youngsters in the subcontinent. I, therefore, started playing cricket to fulfill my desire and to become a member of the National squad but unfortunately I could not find proper exposure to good club cricket as most of my teen age period was spent with my family in small towns and villages of the country due to the service career of my father, a policeman by profession.

In the year 1999, I settled in Lahore and started playing club cricket with P & T Gymkhana, a cricketing nursery of the metropolitan city in order to make up for any deficiencies in my game. I soon realized that perhaps it was too late to catch that train but I could not break by romance with my passion. I then made a life changing decision to shift my focus from occupying the crease as a player to staying on the turf as an umpire. Initially, I started supervising cricket matches in local club tournaments but there was hardly enough money to pursue that as a career and earn a living, so for a short interval, I thought of scrapping the whole idea. I was convinced otherwise by my beloved wife and the consistent perseverance of my respected friend Mr. Azhar Zaidi.

In the year 2000, I restarted umpiring and supervised domestic national cricket tournaments. My good performance in the domestic tournaments highlighted my profile and I was spotted by ICC to be included in the ICC International Panel of umpires. In 2003, I was included in the umpires team for the World Cup in South Africa and soon elevated to the Elite Panel of ICC in 2004. Since then, I have become an integral part of the ICC Elite Panel.

I am happy that Allah has made it easy for me to pursue my career as an Umpire. I am also very proud of winning laurels for my country, family and my club.

PakPassion.Net: How did you become a top level umpire - where did you start off, and what steps did you take to improve as an umpire and get noticed at the highest levels?

Aleem Dar: As already explained above, I started my umpiring career in 1999 in local club tournaments and supervised national domestic cricket in 2000. In 2002, I was included in the ICC Panel of International Umpires, supervised World Cup 2003 and finally elevated to ICC Elite Panel of Cricket Umpires in 2004.

As with any sphere of life, my success as an international umpire is due to blessings from Allah, my own sincere hard work coupled with sincerity, consistency, confidence, self belief, professional competence and a constant drive for improvement.

Additionally, to further refine my skills as an umpire, I regularly play cricket for my club, play table-tennis, go to the gym and try to keep myself mentally and physically fit to endure the rigors of standing in a five days cricket test match. All these activities help me stick to the basic principle of cricket "Eye on the Ball" which is true for both playing and umpiring cricket. My efforts revolve around improvement in knowledge of cricket rules and sharpening my reflexes, which are primary ingredients to perform as a cricket umpire.

My ability to perform in the field with a high ratio of correct decisions is mainly dependent on my efforts to continuously follow the positive routines discussed above has propelled me to prominence amongst others and to be spotted by the ICC in the initial phase of my career as umpire. However, the most important factor as stated above is the blessing of ALLAH.

PakPassion.Net: What preparations and reviews do you do to monitor and improve your performance as a top international umpire?

Aleem Dar: To keep myself fit and available for my assignment as an International Cricket Umpire, I have to exercise all the rituals and processes discussed above.

However, specifically speaking, I also focus on ICC Code of Conduct, discipline and coordination with fellow Umpires. I avoid mixing with the press and public and to some extent with the players as well and I do not indulge in controversial statements.

I have never believed in favouritism and make maximum efforts to review decisions objectively, on their individual merit. By the Grace of Allah, till date, I am successful in fulfilling the requirements of my professional duty This simple policy routine has always helped me to maintain the level of expectations from my employer (ICC), players and the cricket loving public and also improve my output and performance on field.

PakPassion.Net: Who is your favourite international umpire, of all time? Why?

Aleem Dar: Mr. Steve Buckner is my favourite International Cricket Umpire and my role model in the umpiring profession. He was closely associated with me in the initial part of my international career and lent me maximum support as a senior in the trade and guided me in carrying out my assignment.

PakPassion.Net: Who is your favourite Pakistani umpire, of all time? Why?

Aleem Dar: Mr. Ather Zaidi is my favourite Pakistani Cricket Umpire. I treat him as a mentor as he convinced me to adopt umpiring as profession and career. He taught me all the basic principles needed to become a good professional cricket umpire. The good habits, principles and characteristics related to my professional career which I have discussed above and strive to adopt, were basically brought into my life by Mr. Ather Zaidi, who still devotes time for my counseling and guidance.

PakPassion.Net: Who are your role models, in life generally, and in cricket more specifically? Any umpires who you try and emulate?

Aleem Dar: My late father was my role model in my general life as he spent his whole life with honesty, even in a department like the Pakistan Police! He groomed all of his children to live in this society with honesty and dignity - teachings that are now part of our life.

In my cricket life Mr. Azhar Zaidi, a respected friend is a role model for me as he is the person who has always supported me in my difficult times and prompted me to restart my career as a cricket umpire when I was almost ready to quit it. As umpire, I do not emulate any one, as I have my own style and outlook towards umpiring which is distinctive and unique by itself.

PakPassion.Net: Do you make an attempt on the field to get friendly with players, or do you prefer that umpire maintains a certain formality with the players he is officiating?

Aleem Dar: I am always friendly with the players on the field, but up to a permissible extent which may neither be regarded as arrogance nor be labelled as favouritism. An umpire is the official supervisor of the game and should always behave in the field in a dignified manner. I am by nature not a talkative person and refrain from instant friendships on field.

PakPassion.Net: Travelling so much as an international umpire must take its toll on family life. How do you and your family deal with this? Do they ever travel with you? Which city are they based in, and how many days a year do you normally get to spend at 'home'?

Aleem Dar: As an International Cricket Umpire, I need to travel around the globe to fulfill my official obligations for almost 7 months a year which takes a natural toll on my family. However, my spouse is a very sacrificing lady who always balances my absence by giving more time and attention to our children and has never amassed any pressure on this score by happily accepting this challenge.

This positive attitude of her's has provided me with the strength to fulfill my duties on the field without any tension and keep myself composed even in difficult situations. My family and I are permanently based in Lahore where my children are getting their education in good schools and in their summer holidays, they often join me on tours, especially when I am performing in England.

PakPassion.Net: What was your family's reaction on your winning this award, both last year and this year?

Aleem Dar: My family is always happy on my achievements and they pray for my success and glory. They rejoiced and bowed to Allah on both the occasions when I received consecutive awards as best umpire of the year.

PakPassion.Net: Are there any upcoming and relatively unknown Pakistani umpires that you would recommend us to watch out for? Any future Aleem Dars out there?

Aleem Dar: There are many upcoming and young umpires in the domestic local and national tournaments who can groom themselves to perform excellently by watching seniors. However, they will have to concentrate on the basic principles I have outlined above. PCB shall have to also enhance facilities for the young and upcoming umpires in the domestic tournaments to encourage them, as are available in the International circuit.

PakPassion.Net: Which bowlers have 'pestered' you the most while umpiring?

Aleem Dar: There are a few but not worth mentioning.

PakPassion.Net: What kinds of player behaviour, in your view, can effect an umpire's decision making ability? For example, a loud and theatrical appeal?

Aleem Dar: Players are always putting pressures on field umpires to get a decisions to their advantage but nowadays, match referees are also involved in the games which has reduced pressure on the field umpires. Nevertheless, an umpire should not succumb to the behaviour of players but should rather base his decisions on merit and his own observations, carefully reviewing each decision in his mind before declaring it.

PakPassion.Net: Thank you very much for your time. We wish you all the best and pray for your success in future. Allah Hafiz.

Aleem Dar: Thank you very much. It was pleasure talking to you. Allah Hafiz.
Many, many thanks to Aleem Dar sahab for making time for us.

Also a thank you to ShehryarK for conducting and MIG for transcribing this interview.

a great umpire, a great person, and a Proud Pakistani.
first brave asian umpire .
who can see in aussie eyes stright i remember.
nice interview Aleem bhai :14:

Does he have two different friends Azhar Zaidi & Ather Zaidi? I think thats a typo and that he was referring to the same person. Please correct that :)
I just hope Aleem that you and Asad don`t fall into any trap concerning any bookies, a friend and i were discussing that after the exposure of those greedy morons, the newspapers will now tempt the pakistani umpires. Please don`t let us down,you have been a beacon over the last few years.
Maybe he can rub off some of the pride on our team which seems least concerned about winning us anything lately.
At least someone still is. I remember Asif being quoted as saying something very similar to this when he was new in the team.

Dar one of the few shining lights for Pakistan cricket, hope he continues with the great work. :14:
too bad he wasn't umpiring today, really wanted to meet him! :(
A fantastic interview, a brilliant man and great ambassador for Pakistan.
Damn, wish I would have asked about technology in the game.
SYDNEY: Pakistan’s most celebrated umpire Aleem Dar and Marais Erasmus of South Africa will officiate in the first Ashes cricket Test between Australia and England, which begins at The Gabba in Brisbane on Nov 23.

Aleem will also stand in the second Test in Adelaide, with New Zealand’s Chris Gaffaney, while Erasmus with team up with Gaffaney for the third Test in Perth.

Sri Lanka’s Kumar Dharmasena will umpire the last two Tests of the five-match series, joining India’s Sundaram Ravi for the fourth Test in Melbourne and then Joel Wilson of the West Indies for the final clash in Sydney.

Ex-West Indies captain Richie Richardson has been appointed match referee for the first three Tests while ex-Sri Lankan skipper Ranjan Madugalle is given the job for the last two matches.

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Aleem Dar moving from strength to strength.

When he wishes to hang up his boots, he should be asked to take the role of director of domestic cricket (the post for which Haroon Rashid works).
Aleems confidence is back after that terrible decision in the Ashes in 2013 at Trent Bridge. This led to a campaign of vilification from Shane Warne in particular but more recently his decision making has been as good as it was earlier in his career.
Pakistani umpire Aleem Dar, part of the International Cricket Council’s Elite Panel, has expressed his desire to officiate in a fifth World Cup.

Dar was addressing media during a ceremony at his cricket academy in Lahore where he said that he has been serving cricket “honestly” for more than 17 years now.

“I have been supervising international matches for more than 17 years now and it is an honour for me and Pakistan that I have officiated in the most number of matches,” he said as quoted Daily Express.

The 49-year-old then expressed his wish to officiate in a fifth World Cup.

“I have always done my job with complete honesty,” said Dar. “I wish I can officiate in five World Cups. If I get a chance to supervise matches in the upcoming 2019 World Cup in England, then my wish would be fulfilled.”

Dar, who won the umpire of the year award for three consecutive years from 2009-2011, says he has a lot of time before he decides to end his career.

“There is nothing wrong in lengthening my career,” he said, when asked about his career goals. “According to the ICC rules, I can serve for 10 more years.”

Dar has been running a cricket academy for nearly seven years now and he believes the purpose that he wanted to achieve through it is still a work in progress, but he is happy with its current achievements.

“I feel content and happy by providing youngsters an opportunity to polish their skills in my academy,” he said. “The academy has reaped successful results to help train the dumb and deaf cricketers in the country. Currently four players in the national deaf cricket team received training from our academy.”

Former PCB chairman Khalid Mahmood was also present in the ceremony and urged Dar to continue umpiring even after the 2019 World Cup.