Pak vs SA: Aleem Dar will be officiating in his first-ever Test at home, while on-field umpire Ahsan Raza and match referee Mohammad Javed Malik will also make their Test debuts as the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), on behalf of the International Cricket Council (ICC), on Saturday confirmed match officials’ appointments for the two-match series between Pakistan and South Africa, which starts in Karachi on January 26.
Elite panelist Aleem Dar has umpired in a record 132 Tests since making his debut in 2003 in Dhaka, while Ahsan part of the international panel has umpired in 37 ODIs and 57 T20Is to date. Javed Malik, a former first-class cricketer and a member of the ICC’s international panel, has refereed in 10 ODIs and six T20Is. Asif Yaqoob and Rashid Riaz will be the third and fourth umpires, respectively, while Javed Malik will lead the playing control team for both the Tests. The second Test will begin in Rawalpindi from February 4.
As per the ICC’s interim playing regulations, the requirement to appoint third country officials has temporarily been removed from the playing conditions for all international formats owing to the current logistical challenges with international travel. The ICC, however, continues to appoint locally based match officials from the ICC Elite Panel of Match Officials and the ICC International Panel of Match Officials.
For the three-match T20I series, Javed Malik will continue to be the match referee, while Aleem and Ahsan Raza will be the on-field umpires for the first match with Shozab Raza in the TV umpire’s box and Asif Yaqoob as the fourth umpire.
Shozab Raza and Asif Yaqoob will stand in the second T20I with Ahsan Raza and Rashid Riaz as third and fourth umpires, respectively, while Aleem Dar and Rashid Riaz will be the on-field umpires for the third T20I with Ahsan Raza and Shozab Raza as third and fourth umpires, respectively.
Commenting on the appointment, Aleem Dar said: “It will definitely be an emotional moment for me to umpire in a Test involving Pakistan. It has been nearly a 17-year and 132-Test wait, but it’s about to be over. Like the players, the match officials also want to umpire in matches on home ground, something we achieve in white-ball cricket, but Test cricket remains the pinnacle format and I am delighted that I will be standing in the two Tests between two excellent sides.”