Umpires in cricket are incredibly significant; they probably play the most crucial role. The best cricket umpires are most favourites of both players and spectators. Numerous decisions in cricket require the assistance of an umpire, and despite numerous technological developments like DRS, video replays, etc, umpires continue to play a significant role in the game. Their decisions are heavily influenced for the game’s result. We have seen few best cricket umpires of all time in the lengthy international cricket history who are well-liked by all.
Here’s a list of Top 10 Best Cricket Umpires of All Time –
1. Dickie Bird
Harold ‘Dickie’ Bird, the most beloved of all cricket umpires. He had played for Barnsley CC alongside writer/broadcaster Michael Parkinson and Geoff Boycott. In 1970, he stood first time as an umpire in first-class match, and in 1973 he debuted in a Test match between England and New Zealand at Headingley. Dickie’s mannerisms, quirkiness, and sense of humour were fantastic on the cricket field. The best strength of Bird had as an umpire was that he was able to acquire the respect of a number of players through his humour.
Throughout his 23-year career, Bird officiated in 66 Tests and 69 ODIs, including three World Cup finals. Bird’s accurate decisions in the pressure situation also earned him the title of a ‘superstar among cricket umpires’ from the cricket fraternity. In 1996 Bird umpired in his last Test match, which was played at The Lord’s between England and India. He received a guard of honour from the players and a standing ovation from the crowd. He was the only umpire to have officiated in three World Cup finals, and 66 Test appearances were a record at the time of his retirement.
2. David Shepherd
David Shepherd is regarded as one of the best cricket umpires of all time because everyone enjoyed seeing him as the umpire. He was extremely lovable personality and was renowned for making accurate decisions on the cricket field. He was also famous for his compassionate approach to addressing on-field flashpoints and his sympathetic management of players. He began his playing career in first-class cricket and played 14 years as a middle order batsman for Gloucestershire.
David Shepherd qualified for umpiring in 1981 after finishing his county career, and he made his ODI debut as an umpire in 1983 World Cup in Pakistan and Sri Lanka match. The fourth Test of the 1985 Ashes Series at Old Trafford, Manchester, served as his first match as an umpire in test cricket. Shepherd officiated in 92 Test matches, the most of any English umpire. In addition, he officiated 172 one-day internationals, including the 1996, 1999, and 2003 World Cup finals. His farewell Test match in 2005, an Ashes game between England and Australia at the Lord’s where he received a guard of honour.
3. Steve Bucknor
Steve Bucknor is one of the best cricket umpires of all time with a distinctive mannerism. His nickname ‘Slow Death’ derives from the fact he takes an eternity to raise the finger to signal that a batsman is out. Steve Bucknor is the only umpire to have officiated in the cricket and football World Cup as well. Bucknor stood in five cricket World Cup Finals and as a fully qualified referee was also involved in the qualifying stages of the 1978 football World Cup. Steve Bucknor also became the first umpire to stand in 100 Test matches, including 14 Ashes Tests.
He stood in his first Test match in 1988-89 and passed the 100 mark in 2005. After umpiring in his 128th Test, between South Africa and Australia in Cape Town, he retired in March 2009. Bucknor’s last match as an umpire was the ODI between the West Indies and England on 29 March 2009, at the end of which both teams formed a guard of honour to applaud him from the field.
4. Rudi Koertzen
Rudi Koertzen along with his accurate decisions, he was also famous for his trademark slow style of lifting his finger to dismiss a batter out. With the second Test of the 2009 Ashes between England and Australia at Lord’s on July 16, 2009, he became the second umpire after Steve Bucknor to stand in 100 Test matches. He ultimately officiated in 108 Tests total. In both the 2003 and 2007 Cricket World Cups, he officiated on-field in the semi-finals and was the third umpire in the final. Additionally, he officiated in the Champions Trophy final in both 2004 and 2006 as one of the on-field cricket umpire.
He continued to officiate in a record 209 ODIs, surpassing David Shepherd’s record of 172 ODIs with the Cricket World Cup match between the West Indies and England in Barbados on April 21, 2007. In 2002, Koertzen received the official vote for the best umpire in cricket. ICC Golden Bails Award for 100 Tests; ICC Bronze Bails Award for 100 ODIs; ICC Silver Bails Award for 200 ODIs. Koertzen is the only umpire to win all three of these awards.
5. Simon Taufel
At the age of 27, Simon Taufel stood in his debut One Day International match on January 13, 1999 in Sydney in the match between Australia and Sri Lanka. In December 2000, he officiated in his first Test match, the Boxing Day Test between Australia and the West Indies in Melbourne. He is the greatest international cricket umpire of all time after winning the best ICC Umpire of the Year Award five times in a row from 2004 to 2008.
In 2003, he was selected to officiate in the Cricket World Cup. He also officiated in the Champions Trophy final in 2004. Taufel is the youngest recipient of the Bronze Bail Award from the ICC for officiating in 100 ODIs. Taufel has officiated 174 One Day Internationals, 34 Twenty20 Internationals, and 74 Test matches. He announced his retirement from international cricket on September 26 after the 2012 World Twenty20 final.
6. Aleem Dar
Aleem Dar is undoubtedly regarded as one of the best cricket umpires of all time. He stood in his first ODI in 2000 at the age of 32, and two years later, the International Cricket Council (ICC) named him to its panel. He officiated in 2003 World Cup. Nobody was surprised when he was elevated to the ICC’s top panel six months later. Aleem Dar not only won the ICC Umpire of the Year Award three times (from 2009 to 2011), he also umpired over the most international games.
In Test cricket, Aleem Dar set a new record. Aleem Dar has surpassed the Steve Buckner’s record for most Test games officiated. At the Perth ground, he officiated in the 129th Test match between Australia and New Zealand. With this, he set a record for becoming the first umpire to officiate the most test matches.
7. Billy Bowden
Billy Bowden from New Zealand is renowned for using the “crooked finger of doom” as part of his dramatic signal. In March 1995, he officiated his first One Day International between New Zealand and Sri Lanka at Hamilton. His first Test match as an on-field umpire occurred in March 2000, and in 2002 he was added to the Emirates Panel of International cricket Umpires. He was selected to officiate at the 2003 World Cup and was also officiated in the Australia vs India final as the fourth umpire.
In the New Zealand and Sri Lanka game at Hamilton in January 2007, Bowden became the youngest umpire to officiate in 100 ODIs. Since being added to the Elite Panel of ICC Umpires in 2003, Bowden has officiated in 82 Test matches, 192 one-day internationals, and 21 Twenty20 matches. Bowden umpired in his 200th One Day International match on February 6, 2016, when New Zealand and Australia faced off in Wellington.
8. Srinivas Venkataraghavan
Srinivas Venkataraghavan, Indian umpire is considered as one of the best cricket umpires of all time. On January 18, 1993, at the One Day International match between India and England in Jaipur, Venkat made his debut as an international umpire. In the same month, during the India vs England game in Kolkata, he began officiating Test matches.
He was chosen by the ICC on a regular basis to officiate test matches away from India as the neutral umpire after earning a spot on the inaugural International cricket Umpire Panel in 1994. Srinivas was the part of the first Elite Panel, and he remained a member of it until he retired in January 2004.
He was well known for signalling “out” with a bent elbow. He also made a lot of correct decisions, which earned him the respect of both players and fans. He was chosen to officiate a semifinal in both the 1996 and 1999 World cup tournaments, and he officiated the 1999 World Cup final between Australia and Pakistan at Lord’s as the third umpire. Throughout his career, he officiated on the field in 73 Test matches and 52 One-day Internationals.
9. Daryl Harper
Australian umpire Daryl Harper was the first to be elected to the International Cricket Council elite panel of umpires. From 2002 to 2011, he served on the Elite Panel of ICC Umpires. Harper officiated as an umpire in a One Day International (ODI) between South Africa and New Zealand at Perth in January 1994. He made his test umpiring debut in the second Ashes test at the WACA ground in November 1998.
In addition to standing in one of the semi-finals, Harper officiated in the Cricket World Cup’s first game in 2003. He presided over his 100th ODI, a game between Zimbabwe and New Zealand, on August 31, 2005, in Harare. He was also highly recognised for being fair in his dealings. Throughout his career, Harper umpired over 94 Test matches, 174 One Day Internationals, and 10 Twenty20 Internationals.
10. Ian Gould
Ian Gould is the former English cricket player and current member of the ICC Elite Panel. The 2007 Cricket World Cup appointed Ian Gould to stand in three of the games. On November 2008, he made his umpiring test debut in Bloemfontein, when South Africa played vs Bangladesh. In 2009, Gould was elevated to the ICC Elite Panel of Umpires.
At the 2011 Cricket World Cup semifinal between India and Pakistan at Mohali, he was officiated. One of the twenty umpires he was chosen again to officiate games in the 2015 Cricket World Cup. During the Australia vs. Sri Lanka match in Pool A of the World Cup, he stood in his 100th ODI game.
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