Legendary Pakistani umpire Aleem Dar was given a guard of honor by both teams and match officials as he walked off from the pitch after officiating his final Test match between Bangladesh and Ireland at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Dhaka on April 7. Bangladesh emerged victorious, defeating Ireland by seven wickets in the first-ever Test played between the two teams.
Dar, who recently stepped down from the International Cricket Council (ICC) Elite Panel of Umpires after serving for 19 years, was a part of ICC’s Elite Panel of Umpires since its formation in 2002. The 54-year-old umpire retired after officiating a record 439 men’s international matches, which includes 145 Tests, 225 ODIs, and 69 T20Is.
Dar was the first umpire from Pakistan to be part of the Elite Panel and was also awarded the prestigious David Shepherd Trophy for being selected as the ICC Umpire of the Year for three consecutive years in 2009, 2010, and 2011. He has been a part of five 50-over World Cups and seven T20 World Cups. Additionally, he has officiated in two ODI World Cup finals in 2007 and 2011 and two T20 World Cup finals in 2010 and 2012 in his illustrious career.
Players from both teams and match officials praised Dar for his contributions to international cricket and the ICC. Geoff Allardice, the CEO of ICC, lauded Dar’s performances and said, “Aleem’s contribution to international cricket and to the ICC has been truly remarkable. Consistently elite performances over such a long period saw him enjoy enormous respect across all involved in international cricket. I wish Aleem all the best for the future, and I am sure his involvement in the game will continue for many years to come.”
Dar also reflected on his journey as an umpire and shared his advice for budding umpires worldwide. “It has been a long journey, but I have enjoyed every bit of it. I have had the pleasure and honour 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 said. “Though I am still keen to continue as an international umpire, I felt it was now the right time, after 19 years on the road to step away from the Elite panel and provide an opportunity to someone from the International Panel. My message to umpires worldwide is to work hard, maintain discipline and never stop learning.”
The final Test match between Bangladesh and Ireland saw Ireland continuing their innings from 286/8, with Andy McBrine 71* and Graham Hume 9* at the crease. However, Bangladesh didn’t take much time to bundle out Ireland, dismissing them for 292 in the second innings, with Ebadot Hossain picking up both wickets. Taijul Islam was once again the pick of the bowlers for the hosts, finishing with figures of 4/90 in 42 overs after picking up a five-wicket haul in the first innings.
Bangladesh were set a target of 138 in the fourth innings, which they comfortably chased down, losing just three wickets. Mushfiqur Rahim once again finished as the top scorer with his knock of 51* off 48. He scored a brilliant 126 in the first innings to help his side post a total of 369. As a result, Bangladesh won the Test by seven wickets, and Mushfiqur Rahim was awarded Player of the Match.