In cricket, there are milestones celebrated when a player plays his 50th Test or 100th Test. There is not so much focus on the umpires, apart from any controversy regarding the decision or their misjudgment which is corrected by the Decision Review System (DRS). However, Aleem Dar of Pakistan is all set to create history in the upcoming Australia vs New Zealand Pink Ball Test that will take place in Perth on December 13. Dar is all set to umpire in his 129th Test and it will be a new world record for being an umpire in most Tests in history. Currently, he is level with West Indies' Steve Bucknor who has officiated in 128 Tests from 1989 to 2009.
In a statement to the International Cricket Council (ICC), Dar said, "This is one milestone I had never thought of when I began my umpiring career. It is a truly amazing feeling and a high point of my life when I take the field here in Australia; thousands of miles from where I started my international career at home in Gujranwala. Steve Bucknor was my idol and it is only sinking in now that I will have officiated in more Test matches than him. In the nearly two decades of my international career, I have had the good fortune of watching some memorable matches and achievements like Brian Lara's Test knock of 400 not out and South Africa's epic chase of Australia's score of 434 in an ODI in Johannesburg in 2006."
Dar made his umpiring debut in 2003 during the Bangladesh vs England Test in Dhaka while his final Test was the 2019 Ashes Test between England and Australia at Lord's. The Pakistan umpire has also officiated in 207 ODI games and he is just three behind South Africa's Rudi Koertzen who has officiated in 209 games. Dar is only one among three umpires to have officiated in over 100 Tests and 200 ODIs, the others being Koertzen, Bucknor and New Zealand umpire Billy Bowden in ODIs. Dar is also two behind his fellow Pakistan umpire Ahsan Raza for most matches officiated in Twenty20 Internationals.
Raza started umpiring from 2010 and till 2019, he has been an umpire in 47 games. In contrast, Dar has been umpiring in Twenty20 Internationals since 2009 and till 2019, he has officiated in 46 games.
The 51-year-old had played domestic cricket in Pakistan from 1986 till 1997 and was predominantly a leg-break bowler. In 17 First-Class games, he took 11 wickets and in 18 List A games he finished with 15 wickets. With the bat, he averaged 11.73 and 19.88 in First Class and List A games respectively. He played for teams like Allied Bank, Gujranwala Cricket Association, Lahore, Pakistan Railways.
No Indian umpire, unfortunately, has officiated in 100 or more games either in ODIs or Tests. Srinivasaraghavan Venkataraghavan has officiated in 84 Tests which is the most by an Indian umpire and in 52 ODIs. In Twenty20 Internationals, Anil Chaudhary has officiated in 26 T20Is.