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Aleem Dar on the brink of breaking record for most Tests as an umpire
Umpiring Record

Aleem Dar on the brink of breaking record for most Tests as an umpire

Aleem Dar is on the verge of overtaking Steve Bucknor to become the first umpire to stand in 129 Test matches when he assumes his on-field duties in the pink-ball game between Australia and New Zealand on Thursday.

The 51-year-old's journey in Test cricket began in 2003, three years after he stood in his first international game during Pakistan's home ODI series against Sri Lanka.

Dar's lengthy career has seen him officiate in 207 ODIs, two matches fewer than the record in the 50-over format set by South Africa's Rudi Koertzen.

Shedding light on his emotions ahead of the record-breaking feat in Perth, Dar told the ICC that he never dreamed of reaching this milestone when he initially started his career.

"This is one milestone I had never thought of when I began my umpiring career," he said.

"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."

Dar, who has also fulfilled umpiring responsibilities in 47 T20Is, admitted it felt surreal surpassing Bucknor since the latter served as a motivation for him throughout his career.

"Steve Bucknor (from the West Indies) 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, the first Pakistani to be a member of the ICC Elite Panel of Umpires, won the ICC Umpire of the Year award three years in a row from 2009 to 2011.

"It is not easy officiating in this modern day of intense scrutiny, but I am sure with his [Dar's] dedication he will continue to move umpiring forward in the years to come," Adrian Griffith, ICC senior manager for umpires and referees, said.