South Africa's Adrian Holdstock and Pakistan's Ahsan Raza have been added to the ICC's Elite Panel of Umpires for 2023-24, with veteran Aleem Dar stepping down.
The addition of Holdstock and Raza sees the number of umpires in the panel rise up to 12 from 11. The additions were overseen by the ICC Elite Umpire selection panel, headed by ICC General Manager - Cricket, Wasim Khan. Holdstock has officiated in five Tests, 42 ODIs and 48 T20Is. Raza has stood in seven Tests, 41 ODIs and 48 T20Is.
Aleem Dar, a distinguished international cricket umpire who has officiated 435 men's international matches, has also stepped down from the panel.
Dar has a long and distinguished career as an international umpire. He made his international debut in 2000 and quickly rose through the ranks, earning praise from both players and fans for his sound decisions in matches.
Dar was appointed to the ICC International Panel of Umpires in 2002 and officiated at the 2003 ICC Men's Cricket World Cup in South Africa. Dar continued his rise as he was appointed as a member of the Elite Panel of ICC Umpires in 2004. He was the first Pakistani to be appointed to the Elite Panel.
Dar has also officiated in the 2006 ICC Men's Champions Trophy final, the 2007 and 2011 ICC Men's Cricket World Cup finals, and the 2010 and 2012 ICC Men's T20 World Cup finals. Dar was named ICC Umpire of the Year three years in a row between 2009 and 2011.
The ICC Elite Umpire Selection Panel headed by ICC General Manager - of Cricket, Wasim Khan, made the additions during the annual review and selection process, increasing the number of umpires on the panel from 11 to 12.
Aleem, who has been on the Elite panel since its inception in the year 2002, has officiated in more Tests and ODIs than any other umpire and is second in T20Is, behind compatriot Ahsan.
Aleem reflected on his career and thanked his colleagues over the years.
Holdstock has officiated in five Tests, 42 ODIs and 48 T20Is while Ahsan has stood in seven Tests, 41 ODIs and 72 T20Is. Both umpires were part of the panels for the ICC Men's T20 World Cups in 2021 and 2022. Holdstock and Ahsan were enthusiastic on being inducted in the panel.
"Aleem's contribution to international cricket and to the ICC has been truly remarkable. Consistently elite performances over such a long period saw him enjoy enormous respect across all involved in international cricket. I wish Aleem all the best for the future and I am sure his involvement in the game will continue for many years to come," praising Dar's contributions, ICC CEO Geoff Allardice said.
"It has been a long journey, but I have enjoyed every bit of it. I have had the pleasure and honour of umpiring the world over and what I have achieved is something I did not even dream of when I started in the profession," Dar reflecting on his time as an international umpire, added.
"Though I am still keen to continue as an international umpire, I felt it was now the right time, after 19 years on the road to step away from the Elite panel and provide an opportunity to someone from the International Panel. My message to umpires the world over is to work hard, maintain discipline and never stop learning," he said.
The other members of the panel are: Chris Gaffaney (New Zealand), Kumar Dharmasena (Sri Lanka), Marais Erasmus (South Africa), Michael Gough (England), Nitin Menon (India), Paul Reiffel (Australia), Richard Illingworth (England), Richard Kettleborough (England), Rodney Tucker (Australia), Joel Wilson (West Indies). (ANI)