Dubai: Pakistan's Aleem Dar will break Steve Bucknor's record of most Test matches as an umpire in the first Test match between Australia and New Zealand, beginning in Perth on Thursday.
The 51-year-old, who took up umpiring after a decade of playing first-class cricket in Pakistan, stands in his 129th Test match as on-field umpire since his debut in Dhaka in 2003 during England's tour of Bangladesh.
Starting his international career in 2000 during Pakistan's home ODI series against Sri Lanka, Dar has officiated in 207 ODIs and is only two matches shy of the record of 209 matches in that format held by Rudi Koertzen of South Africa. Dar has also officiated in 46 T20 Internationals.
"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," said Dar in an ICC statement.
"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," he added.
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The other members of the commentary panel also underwent COVID-19 tests in Karachi as they were in close contact with Mir.
The South Africa squad, which includes 21 players, underwent their first COVID-19 tests soon after landing in the country's financial capital on Saturday morning and according to their media manager, all the reports came negative.
Baartman had received a maiden Test call-up for South Africa but was left out due to a medical reason unrelated to COVID-19.