Umpire in cricket is the man who declares any batsman out or giving him a sixer or an over boundary. It’s all in his hand standing behind the wickets at bowler’s end. They are the ones maintaining peace and harmony according to the rules of cricket. As the umpires are also humans, some misjudgments can also come from their sides. A wrong decision is well enough to put any team in tough situation, even when they are very close to the victory.
Irrespective of those unavoidable wrong decisions which are very few in number, the cricket umpires are the symbol of justice for any team on the ground. Without them, the cricket match will be itself a misery.
Top 10 Best Umpires in Cricket:
Today, we will bring to you the list of top 10 best umpires in cricket. The names in this list may be arguable, but they are undoubtedly the elite ICC cricket umpires in the history of cricket.
10. Tony Hill
Tony Hill’s full name is Anthony Lloyd Hill. He was born in 1951 in Auckland, New Zealand. He made his ODI debut as an umpire in a match against New Zealand and Zimbabwe, which was played at Napier in March 1998. His Test debut came in 2001. There he managed a match against New Zealand and Bangladesh at Hamilton, New Zealand.
ICC had decided to appoint Tony Hill to matches away from New Zealand during his time on the International umpire panel. He played his role as a neutral umpire for supporting the elite panel. His particular highlights are the third test match between South Africa and Australia at Johannesburg in March 2006. Beside this, he was officiating on-field at three Group- A matches at 2007 Cricket World Cup in St. Kitts.
Tony Hill had officiated at 96 ODIs, 39 Teat matches, along with 17 T20 international so far. In 2009, Tony Hill was elected in the ICC Elite Panel of umpires. In this ICC cricket umpires list, Tony Hill is the 10th of top 10 best umpires in cricket.
09. Darrell Hair
Darrell Hair, real name Darrell Bruce Hair was born on 1952, New South Wales, Australia. His debut as a Test umpire was on January 1992, between Australia and India in Adelaide. He was well mentioned to call NO BALL in great spinner Muttiah Muralitharan seven times in three overs for throwing the ball. The match was held in 1995, between Sri Lanka and Australia in Melbourne.
Darrell Hair had officiated a total 139 ODIs and 78 Test matches. On the 4th day of the 4th Test match between Pakistan and England in 2006 at the Oval ground, Darrell Hair and his fellow umpire Billy Doctrove ruled out Pakistan for illegal ball tampering. They awarded five penalty runs to the England team and offered them a replacement new ball. Pakistan team refused to take the field in protest.
Later on an ICC board meeting panel decided that Darrell Hair should not umpire matches involving the Test playing nations. On 22 August 2008, Darrell Hair handed his resignation letter to ICC in order to continue his career as a cricket coach. Despite all these controversies, Darrell Hair is in our list of top 10 best umpires in cricket.
08. Rudi Koertzen
Rudi Koertzen was born in Knysna, Western Cape, South Africa in 1949. His real name is Rudolf Eric Koertzen. He was devoted for cricket since his childhood. While working for South African railways, he used to play cricket league. Initially, he became an umpire officiating at domestic games in 1981.
In the year 1992, Rudi Koertzen broke into the International cricket arena. He made his umpiring debut in ODI in a South Africa and India match. During the same tour, Rudi made his Test debut too, again in a match between South Africa and India. He took the standards to a higher level and in 1997 he became a full time ICC umpire. Soon, Rudi Koetzen became an important part in the ICC Elite Umpires Panel.
He officiated 209 ODIs along with 108 Test matches with 14 T20 Internationals in his career. He achieved ICC Bronze Bails Award for 100 ODIs, ICC Silver Bails Award for 200 ODIs and ICC Golden Bails Award for umpiring 100 Test matches. Rudi Koertzen is in the No 8 position in our list of top 10 best umpires in cricket.
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07. Daryl Harper
Daryl Harper was born in 1951 in Australia. Daryl Harper started his living as a primary school teacher. He had a short career as an Australian football referee until an injury forced him to quit. Then he made it in umpiring cricket. He made his debut as a cricket umpire in 1983 and became the first Australian umpire to be selected into the ICC Elite Umpires Panel in 2002. He continued his career as an elite umpire till 2011.
Between 1998 and 2011, He was also an international Teat umpire. Daryl Harper had a brilliant umpiring career. He officiated 94 Test matches and 174 ODIs in his career. Following a criticism in June 2011, during India-West Indies test series, Daryl Harper decided to be retired. He achieved the honorable ICC Bronze Bails Awards for umpiring 100 ODIs. He is indeed one of the best umpires in cricket.
06. Billy Bowden
His real name is Brent Fraser Bowden. He is commonly known as Billy Bowden. Billy was born in 1963, in Henderson, New Zealand. He made his ODI debut as an umpire in 1995 between New Zealand and Sri Lanka match. His test umpiring debut was made in 2000, between New Zealand and Australia.
Billy Bowden gloriously officiated at three ICC World Cup events and was the reserve umpire in both 2007 ICC World Cup final and 2007 World T20 Championship. Billy Bowden’s career is decorated with 184 Tests and 77 ODIs along with 21 T20 matches. He was elected into the ICC Elite Umpires Panel in 2003. In the current game of cricket, he is best known for his bizarre and unique umpiring signals.
Among them, his dancing jig while signaling sixer and his crooked index finger to give out of a batsman are most notable. Billy was awarded with the ICC Bronze Bails for conducting 100 ODIs in 2007. Billy Bowden is at the No 6 stand in our list of top 10 best umpires in cricket.
05. Aleem Dar
Aleem Dar is a Pakistani born umpire with the full name Aleem Sarwar Dar. He was a Pakistani first-class cricketer, before starting his career as a cricket umpire. He played cricket for Gujranwala Cricket Association, Lahore, Allied Bank of Pakistan and Pakistan railways as a right-handed batsman. Aleem Dar was also a leg break bowler. Just at the age of 30, Aleem Dar started his journey as an international cricket umpire in 2000. He managed his debut in a match between Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
Two years later in 2002, Aleem Dar was selected into the ICC Elite Umpire Panel for his outstanding performance in umpiring. He was able to win three consecutive ICC umpire of the year prize, in 2009, 2010 and 2011. He also achieved the award “Pride of Performance Award Pakistan”. In 2011 Cricket World Cup, he spent a splendid period of time while he gave 15 consecutive correct decisions that won against the DRS challenges. He has officiated a total of 159 ODIs and 87 tests in his career. He proudly made his place in our list of top 10 best umpires in cricket history.
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04. Simon Taufel
Simon James Arthur Taufel, commonly famous as Simon Taufel was born on 21 January 1971, New South Wales, Australia. Taufel initially made his career in cricket as a fast-medium bowler and played for Cammeray Cricket Club. In 1990-91 season, he grabbed the club’s best and fairest player award as he was the leading wicket taker with lowest bowling average. But, it was a sudden unfortunate that, his bowling career was cut short because of a back injury.
As an umpire, he made his ODI debut in 1999 in an ODI match between Australia and Sri Lanka. In 2000, he stepped ito Test between Australia and West Indies match. Cricket loving people soon started considering him as one of the best ICC cricket umpires of all time in cricket history after he was awarded with five consecutive ICC Umpire of the Year between 2004-2008. Taufel officiated at 174 ODIs, 74 test matches and 34 T20 Internationals. He announced his retirement after 2012 ICC World Cup T20 final. We are very glad to put him in our list of top 10 best umpires in cricket.
03. David Shepherd
David Shepherd is an English umpire who was born in Bideford, Devon on 27 December, 1940. He stated his cricketing career as a first-class cricketer. He played county cricket for Gloucestershire for 14 long years as a middle order batsman. He qualified for umpiring in 1981 and made a debut as an umpire in World Cup 1983 in England. It was a match against Pakistan and Sri Lanka which was played at swansea. He made his debut umpiring in Test in 1985 Ashes series at Manchester.
A funny fact about David Shepherd was, he always raised his leg whenever any score would reach 111. He appeared in 92 Test matches and stood last of them on June 2005. Shepherd also umpired 172 ODIs including three consecutive World Cup finals in 1996, 1999 and 2003. In 2009, he died of lung cancer. This great umpire is certainly made the position in our list of top 10 best umpires in cricket world.
02. Dickie Bird
Harold Dennis Bird who is better known as Dickie Bird was born on April 19, 1933 in Yorkshire, England. He had a very struggling childhood. Dickie Bird was a school dropout and worked in a coal mine in his hard days. Surprisingly his first passion was football. But, after suffering an injury, he had to leave the dream. Then he began to play county cricket in his early career in Barnsley. He also played for his home, Yorkshire.
Bird made his debut in cricket umpiring at a Test match between England and New Zealand. He carried the glory to be the umpire for three consecutive Cricket World Cup finals notably in 1975, 1979 and 1983. He was officiated at 69 ODIs. He achieved officer of the Order of the British Empire award in 2012 for his outstanding contributions in cricket. In his last Test match, he was given the guard of honour by the English and Indian cricketers in 1996. Dickie Bird is the 2nd best umpire in our list of top 10 best umpires in cricket.
01. Steve Bucknor
Steve Bucknor was one of the most experienced and prolific umpires in the cricket world. His full name is Steve Anthony Bucknor. Bucknor was born in Jamaica, in 1946. He was a high school mathematics teacher in his early life. Initially, he was a football referee before he stepped in cricket at the age of 45. His Test umpiring debut was documented in 1989, in a match between West Indies and India. He officiated at his first ODI in the same year also between West Indies – India match.
In his outstanding career, Bucknor stood in 128 Tests along with 181 ODIs. Bucknor was awarded the Order of Jamaica in 2007 for his outstanding service in the field of sports. He also received ICC’s Bronze Bails awards for his 100 ODI standings as well as Golden Bails for 100 Test matches. This well-known ICC elite umpire announced his retirement in 2009. Steve Bucknor is the umpire we are looking for to put him in No 1 in our list of top 10 best umpires in cricket.
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Many more world renowned umpires have already retired from cricket pitch and so many are in the way of making themselves famous. Now in 2014, the ICC Elite Panel Umpires consists of Bruce Oxenford, Richard Illingworth, Aleem Dar, Ian Gould, Steve Davis, Marais Erasmus, Kumar Dharmasena, Nigel Llong, Rod Tucker, Richard Kettleborough and Paul Reiffel. The whole cricket world depends upon them. The cricket fans are always eager to see some best decisions during the adrenalin -driven matches in the upcoming ICC cricket world cup 2015.