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Top-10 Umpires of All time

Cricket is always considered a sport of players playing for either of the two teams on the field. However, Umpiring is the most difficult task on the field during a cricket match. Any decision made by an Umpire can change the direction of the match. Even with the technology getting better every day, Umpires remain the most important aspect of a game. In many cases, the Umpire’s decision is considered final. In the history of Cricket, many Umpires have been criticized on and off the field for their controversial decisions during a match. Many times, Umpires are also praised for their precision. Here in this article, we will see the Top-10 Best Umpires in the history of cricket.

David Shepherd (England)

David Shepherd is undoubtedly considered the best umpire in the history of cricket. David has the record of Umpiring the most International matches by an English Umpire. David had an Umpiring career from 1985 to 2005. Shepherd Umpired in 92 Tests and 172 ODIs during his career including the World Cup finals three times in 1996, 1999, and 2003. David Shepherd died in 2008 due to lung cancer.

Career: 1985 – 2005

Tests: 92 Matches

ODIs: 172 Matches

Dennis Bird (England)

Dennis Bird was wildly considered one of the best Umpires cricket has ever seen. Famously known as Dickie Bird, Dennis was the Umpire from the era when there was no video assistance for the Umpires. Dickie was considered a very strict Umpire on the field and never tolerated any argument. During his Umpiring career, Dennis Umpired in 3 World Cup finals that is in 1975, 1979, and 1983. Dennis also played County cricket in his early days.

Career: 1973 – 1996

Tests: 66 Matches

ODIs: 69 Matches

Stephen Anthony Bucknor (Jamaica)

Stephen Anthony Bucknor, popularly called Steve Bucknor is one of the Umpires in the history of cricket who has dedicated their whole life to Umpiring. Steve has a career of almost 21 years in International Umpiring and has Umpired in more than 300 in International matches. Before Cricket, Steve was a Referee in football. Before retiring in 2009, Steve received many ICC awards for Umpiring in his career. He made his debut as an Umpire in a Test match between India and West Indies back in 1989.

Career: 1989 – 2009

Tests: 128 Matches

ODIs: 181 Matches

Simon Taufel (Australia)

Simon James Arthur Taufel was an Australian Umpire who received the ICC Umpire of the year award consecutively for the 5 years of his career from 2004 to 2008. Simon was one of the original members of the ICC Elite Panel formed in 2002. In his career of 12 years, Taufel stood in many historic matches including the ICC Cricket World Cup final in 2011 that India won. His last international outing was in the finals of the World Men’s T20 World Cup final in 2012. Before choosing Umpiring as his career, Simon was a medium-fast bowler but due to a back injury, he stopped playing cricket.

Career: 2000 – 2012

Tests: 74 Matches

ODIs: 174 Matches

T20Is: 34 Matches

Aleem Dar (Pakistan)

Aleem Dar is the only Pakistani Umpire on the list of All-time Top-10 Umpires. Aleem started off his Umpiring career in 2000 at the age of just 30 years. Before that, Aleem played first-class cricket in Pakistan as an all-rounder. Aleem Dar won the ICC Umpire of the year award consecutively for the 3 years in 2009, 2010, and 2011. Aleem Dar was also part of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 that India won. He has Umpired in over 400 International Matches.

Career: 2000 – Present

Tests: 139 Matches

ODIs: 216 Matches

T20Is: 61 Matches

Billy Bowden (New Zealand)

Brent Fraser Bowden, famously known as Billy is one of the best Umpires of his time. Billy was known for giving out with his crooked index finger and signaling a six with a dance jig. Billy was included in the Elite Panel in 2003. He made his Umpiring debut back in 1995 in an ODI match between New Zealand and Sri Lanka. Billy has also been a part of 2 World Cups.

Career: 1995 – 2016

Tests: 84 Matches

ODIs: 200 Matches

T20Is: 24 Matches

Ian Gould (England)

Ian Gould is the only name in the All-time great Umpires list who has represented his national side in International cricket before choosing Umpiring as his career. Ian was the part of England squad in the 1983 World Cup

as a wicketkeeper. His last international match as a player was against India in the World Cup. Gould started off his Umpiring career in 2006 and took retirement after the 2019 World Cup. Within the months of starting his career, Ian was made Umpire in the World Cup 2007. He has Umpired in almost 250 International Matches.

Career: 2006 – 2019

Tests: 74 Matches

ODIs: 140 Matches

T20Is: 37 Matches

Daryl Harper (Australia)

Daryl Harper started his career as a football referee but later changed his profession due to an injury. Harper started off his career in 1983 and was the original member of the Elite Panel in 2002 and remained part of the panel till 2011. Daryl made his International Debut as an Umpire in 1994 in an ODI match. However, Harper had to end his career after facing criticism during the Test series between India and West Indies in 2011.

Career: 1994 – 2011

Tests: 94 Matches

ODIs: 174 Matches

Rudi Koertzen (South Africa)

Rudolf Eric Koertzen, commonly known as Rudi is the only Umpire in the Top-10 list from South Africa. Rudi started off Umpiring in domestic cricket from the year 1981 and got a chance in International Cricket in 1992 in a match between India and South Africa. Rudi was the first Umpire in the history of cricket to have appeared in 200 ODIs. He won many ICC Awards during his long career 19 years before getting retired in 2010.

Career: 1992 – 2010

Tests: 108 Matches

ODIs: 209 Matches

T20Is: 14 Matches

Richard Kettleborough (England)

Another English Umpire on the list of Elite Umpires is Richard Kettleborough who has been a part of many high-profile games in his career. Richard made his International Debut as an Umpire back in 2006 and was included in the list of Elite Panel in 2011. Richard won the ICC Umpire of the Year Award in 2013, 2014, and 2015. He was the Umpire in the ICC Cricket World Cup final in 2015 and also Umpired in the first ICC Test Championship final in 2021. Before choosing Umpiring as his career, Richard played County Cricket for almost 5 years.

Career: 2006 – Present

Tests: 74 Matches

ODIs: 92 Matches

T20Is: 30 Matches

FAQs

1. Who was the first Umpire to appear in 200 ODIs?

Rudi Koertzen was the first Umpire in the history of cricket to have appeared in 200 ODIs.

2. Which Umpire had to leave Umpiring after facing criticism in 2011?

Harper had to end his career after facing criticism during the Test series between India and West Indies in 2011.

3. Which Umpire represented his national side in International Cricket in 1983?

Ian Gould was the part of England squad in the 1983 World Cup as a wicketkeeper. His last international match as a player was against India in the World Cup.

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