Pakistan is known for producing world-beating cricketing talent, be it bowlers or batsmen. However, there is Aleem Dar, who has created a name for himself in the field of umpiring.
Aleem Dar left Gujranwala to fulfill his dream of becoming a cricketer and he promised his parents before leaving that he will become something big.
Dar took trials for Lahore’s Government Islamia College cricket team and faced the wiry pacer, Wasim Akram during the trials. Akram was the first bowler to get selected, while Aleem Dar was the first batsman to be picked.
Akram soon got a call for the national duty, whereas Dar look to create an impact in the domestic cricket but soon realized that he may not make it big as a cricketer.
At that time, Pakistan Cricket Board had initiated a program for First Class cricketers to become professional umpires. Some of his close companions advised him to switch career, he followed their words and then the rest is history.
Aleem Dar officiated his first international game, Pakistan versus Australia, in his hometown Gujranwala in 2000.
His consistent performance as an umpire earned him a call to officiate matches during World Cup 2003. He was flawless during the campaign, so he was asked to stand during the semi-final of the tournament, which was a huge success for him.
However, there was a big sacrifice made by his wife to keep his focus on the tournament. As Dar flew to South Africa to perform his duty, his seven-month old daughter passed away in Pakistan. But, his wife kept it secret from her husband so that he could continue his job. When he got the news, he came back the next day.
Following his performance during the World Cup, he was inducted in the Elite Panel of ICC umpires. He was nominated for ICC Umpire of the year award in 2005 and 2006, but could not win it. However, he clinched the award three times in a row in 2009, 2010 and 2011.
He also received Pride of Performance from the government of Pakistan in 2011 for his priceless services for the country.
He has officiated the most number of international matches in the history of cricket and his tally is yet to stop.