Simon Taufel was a former Australian international cricket umpire, born on 21st January 1971 in St. Leonards, Sydney. Taufel received five consecutive ICC Umpire of the Year awards between 2004 and 2008 and was considered the best umpire during his time.
During his early days, Taufel played for the Cammeray Cricket Club as a medium-fast bowler.
He was a promising fast bowler and took the new ball during the 1988-89 season for the New South Wales’ schoolboys team. The team was captained by Michael Slater and Taufel had Adam Gilchrist keeping wickets for him at the other end.
However, Taufel’s playing career stalled due to a back injury and he started officiating in fifth-grade matches when he was 20.
Taufel studied umpiring for several years and was offered a contract by Cricket Australia in 1998.
Taufel was only 27 when he officiated his first match. It was an ODI between Australia and Sri Lanka held at the iconic Sydney Cricket Ground in 1999.
He umpired his first Test match in 2000 when he stood in the Boxing Day Test match between Australia and West Indies at the MCG. His former teammate Adam Gilchrist scored a hundred.
Taufel was added to the ICC’s Panel of Umpires in 2003 and umpired in the 2003 ICC World Cup as well.
He umpired in the final of the 2004 ICC Champions Trophy and it remained the pinnacle of his umpiring career for a long time since he could not umpire in the ICC Cricket World Cup final of 2003 and 2007 as Australia reached the final.
In 2011, he finally achieved his dream of officiating the ICC Cricket World Cup final along with Aleem Dar when India took on Sri Lanka at the Wankhede Stadium.
Taufel umpired a total of 74 Test matches during his career. He also officiated 13 matches as a TV umpire.
He also took part in 174 ODI matches and 34 T20 matches during his long career. Being a third umpire, he officiated 46 ODIs and 8 T20s.
Taufel was one of the officials involved in the terrorist attack on the Sri Lanka team bus in 2009 at Lahore. He later criticized the Pakistan security forces and considered the attack as a life changing incident.
Taufel retired from umpiring in 2012 at the age of 41, deciding to spend more time with his family, having regretted for the same earlier in his career.
He took over a newly created role of ICC’s Umpire Performance and Training Manager but resigned from the same in 2015.
He was appointed by the BCCI for training Indian umpires in 2013.