Experienced umpire Aleem Dar surprised a lot of spectators during the ICC Champions Trophy warm-up match between India and New Zealand with his new look. The 48-year old, who is usually always clean shaven, is now sporting a full-grown beard and he revealed that it was South Africa cricketer Hashim Amla who asked him to grow his beard in the Islamic way.
Talking to PTV after the match, Dar said that he was thinking about growing a beard and Hashim Amla’s advice helped him to make up his mind. Amla himself sports a long beard and is well known for his composure both on and off the cricket field.
Aleem Dar is one of the most consistent and experienced umpires in the world right now. He has officiated in 111 Tests, 183 ODIs and 41 T20Is. He has won the Umpire of the Year Award in 2009, 2010 and 2011 and in January this year, Dar surpassed South African Rudi Koertzen’s record of officiating in the highest number of international games to become cricket’s most experienced umpire.
The match between India and New Zealand was interrupted by rain and the men in blue clinched the game by 45 runs (D/L method). They will play their second warm-up match against Bangladesh on May 30.