Kumar Dharmasena likely to replace Aleem Dar for India's Test series against England
The ICC has withdrawn Pakistani umpire Aleem Dar from the upcoming Test series between India and England citing security concerns. Sri Lankan umpire Kumar Dharmasena is seen as the likely replacement for Dar as the ICC decided to withdraw the umpire amidst the growing political tensions between India and Pakistan.
Dar has stood in 105 Tests, including the first two of England’s last tour of India and nine of the past 15 Ashes matches.The Indian cricket team will be hosting England for a five-match Test series starting from 9th of November 2016. The visitors will also be playing three ODIs and three T20s after the Test series.
This isn't the first time that Aleem Dar has been withdrawn from officiating in an international match in India as the ICC were forced to withdraw the Pakistani umpire last year as well during the India-South Africa ODI series in Chennai and Mumbai following Shiv Sena threats.
The absence of Aleem Dar has put Kumar Dharmasena's name in contention for officiating the highly anticipated England's tour of India despite the Sri Lankan’s disappointing outing while officiating the Test series between England and Bangladesh where he had to overrule several decisions throughout the Test series due to his poor umpiring.
Cricket fans from both England and Bangladesh were furious with the officiating during the series and took several digs at the veteran umpire through social media. The first Test between England and Bangladesh at Chittagong saw an unusual record being created by the Sri Lankan umpire where 16 of his calls - out and not out - were reviewed with eight overturned, setting an unwanted record of the most reversed decisions for an umpire in a single Test.
Dharmasena continued his slump in umpiring in the second Test as well and cricket fans continued to roast him with some even questioning if there was any need for on-field umpires after most of his decisions were overturned after being reviewed.
Kumar Dharmasena has officiated in 41 Tests, 72 ODIs, and 22 T20s so far. He is even part of the ICC Elite Panel of Umpires and has officiated in World Cup matches as well. With the Test series between India and England expected to be tough and intense, the fans and cricketers will be hoping for a better display from the 45-year-old umpire.