Two Pakistani Umpires- the best in the World- officiate in the 2nd Test at Trent Bridge turning cricketing life a full circle
Almost 25years after a full day’s play was called off in a test match in Pakistan, life, in cricket, seems to have come a full circle.
That late evening in December 1987 on the 2nd day of the 2nd test at Faisalabad was one of the darkest in the English cricket history after the Bodyline series. England were well poised to come back into the three test series after being flummoxed by Abdul Qadir and going down to a crushing defeat in the first test.Qadir, that great leggie, had 7LBW decisions in his favour in the first test ( one that Shakoor Rana did not officiate!!)
With Pakistan struggling in their 1st innings chasing a biggish England score, Shakoor Rana, one of the umpires, pulled up Mike Gatting, the English captain, for moving a fielder once the bowler started his run up.
In an ugly war of words, the match was brought to a grounding halt with the Pakistani umpire demanding an apology from Gatting for his abusive language and for his unsportsmanlike conduct.
With Gatts refusing, the entire third day’s play was lost pushing England behind in their pursuit of squaring the series. In those days, there was a consensus across the cricketing community about the poor quality of the Pakistani umpires. Added to this was the constant accusation of biased umpiring as well.
While Gatting himself was not known as the most sporting of players, the heat on this particular episode was turned completely on Shakoor Rana. That year, this was one of the most talked about rows in cricket bringing to the table an ever increasing nod for neutral umpires.
This morning, 325pm IST, at Trent Bridge, in the 2nd test of the 3test series between England and West Indies, two Pakistani Umpires- Asad Rauf and Aleem Dar came out on to the field in a historic moment. That day, 25years ago, the English media went on a rampage against Shakoor Rana in particular and the Pakistani umpires in general. The cricketing world seemed to support the move against Pakistani umpires, which finally led to the neutral panel.
Today, there is a consensus across the cricketing experts in England that Aleem Dar is by far the best umpire in the World with Asad Rauf not far behind.
Those days of endless controversies relating to Pakistani Umpires - the period in the 1980s- now seem a thing of the distant past.
In the last year or so, Aleem Dar has replaced Simon Taufel as the umpire the players seem to trust most.
Kudos to the Pakistani Umpire for he has turned life a full circle over the last 25years, at least in the cricketing arena.