The Indian cricketers have got their razors out and whiskers off before the high voltage ICC Champions Trophy 2017. They are sporting a new look and posting photos on social media with the hashtag #BreakThe Beard. However Pakistani umpire Aleem Dar has done something antithetical. The Umpire was seen sporting a beard in India VS New Zealand warm up match at The Oval.
When being asked who insisted on him to grow a beard, the Pakistani umpire said it was Hashim Amla who inspired him to do so. Aleem Dar used to sport a clean shaven look all these years. Amla himself has one of the most glorious beard in the game along with Moeen Ali.
It was during the South Africa Vs Sri Lanka series earlier in the year that Aleem Dar was first seen sporting a beard. Aleem Dar is one of the most respected umpires in modern day cricket.
While he is popular as an umpire very few know he has played First-Class and List A cricket in Pakistan. He was a right handed middle order batsman and a leg break bowler. Dar has an experience of 17 First Class and 18 List A matches but his figures in either formats are not too praiseworthy. When his career as a cricketer didn’t work out as per his plans, Dar switched to umpiring.
He made his first umpiring appearance in an ODI between Pakistan and Sri Lanka at Gujranwala on 16 February 2000. Then 3 years later he officiated in his first ever test match at Dhaka between England and Bngladesh in October 2003.
In April 2004 he was promoted to ICC’s Elite Panel thus becoming the first ever Pakistani umpire to achieve this feat. Since then he has umpired in 111 tests. 183 ODIS and 41 T20Is so far. He has won ICC Umpire of the Year three straight times in 2009,2010 and 2011.
While it is said that facial hair do have an impact on a player’s performance (it is all superstition), Dar would hope his beard game goes strong!
– by Atharva Apte