Former Pakistan cricketer Aleem Dar entered the record books on Saturday, as he became the first umpire ever to officiate 500 international games. The 3rd T20I between Afghanistan and Zimbabwe marked his 400th match as an umpire at the highest level.
With this game, Aleem Dar surpassed his Pakistani counterpart Ahsan Raza (52) to become the umpire who officiated the highest number of T20I matches. Dar already holds the record for having officiated the most matches as an umpire in ODIs (136) and Tests (211).
The International Cricket Council (ICC) congratulated Aleem Dar for achieving the impressive feat.`
"Congratulations to umpire Aleem Dar, who is standing in his 400th men's international game today. What an achievement!" the ICC wrote in its tweet.
Only three other umpires have officiated the proceedings in more than 300 international games. South Africa's Rudi Koertzen umpired in 331 matches while West Indies' Steve Bucknor and New Zealand's Billy Bowden stood as the umpires in 309 and 308 international games respectively.
Aleem Dar's journey to 400 international matches
Aleem Dar, a member of the Elite Panel of ICC Umpires, made his international umpiring debut in an ODI game between Pakistan and Sri Lanka back in 2000.
In the last 21 years, he has been one of the most consistent umpires in international cricket even though he's had his fair share of controversies. Aleem Dar is also the first umpire from Pakistan to find a place in the Elite Panel of ICC Umpires.
He received the David Shepherd Trophy - a prize given to ICC Umpire of the year - for three straight years between 2009 and 2011. Aleem Dar's win in 2009 was the first time an umpire other than Simon Taufel received the trophy. The Australian umpire received the honour for five consecutive years since the award's inception.
Aleem Dar made his Test debut as an umpire almost three years after he officiated his first ODI game. It took him another six years to stand in his first T20I match as an umpire.
Asad Rauf (170) stands in second place amongst the Pakistani umpires who have officiated the highest number of international games.
From India, S Venkataraghavan (125) and S Ravi (107) are the only umpires who have officiated in more than 100 international games.