As Pakistani umpire Aleem Dar stood in his 100th Test on Saturday, his wife Noshaba Banu reveals how difficult it was to keep the news of the death of his daughter away from him during the 2003 Cricket World Cup
When Pakistani umpire Aleem Dar walked towards the Newlands strip in Cape Town on Saturday to officiate in his 100th Test (contested between England and South Africa), his wife Noshaba Banu in Lahore suppressed no expressions to be proud of her husband.
Pakistani umpire Aleem Dar receives a memento on his 100th Test from Cricket South Africa's chief executive Haroon Lorgat during Day One of the second Test between SA and England in Cape Town on Saturday. ICC match referee Ranjan Madugalle is on the right. Pic/Getty Images
Aleem (48) is only the third member in the International Cricket Council's elite panel to figure in 100 Tests, the others being West Indian Steve Bucknor and South African Rudi Koertzen.
Dar has come a long way. And Noshaba can't forget all the sacrifices that were made for him to become one of the best umpires of his time. Noshaba revealed on Saturday that the family decided to keep the news of the death of his daughter away from him while he was on umpiring duty in 2003.
"Our daughter Javeria was very ill since birth. She had epilepsy and doctors said she would not live long. She died when she was just six months old while my husband was umpiring the 2003 World Cup matches in Southern Africa.
"To avoid distraction and to enable him to concentrate only on his job, we had decided not to tell him about Javeria's death. We kept things under wraps, but somehow it was leaked to him," she said.
Aleem Dar (in shades) with wife Noshaba Banu and their sons Hassan (left), Ali (centre) and Hussain Dar. Pic Courtesy: Dar family album
From South Australia, former international umpire Daryl Harper, who officiated in 95 Tests, paid tribute to his mate: "Aleem is also a wonderfully dedicated family man and a caring individual. I have now forgiven him for beating me in a golf competition in Zimbabwe in 2005, and for the practical jokes that I had to endure for almost a decade on the road," Harper said with a chuckle.
Meanwhile, Noshaba is keen that her globe-trotting husband wears a helmet in this T20 age where big hits from the meatier-than-before bats can cause serious injuries to umpires. "I get worried and tell him to wear helmet," she said.
It can be recalled that Aleem escaped a serious injury when an uppish drive from Sachin Tendulkar saw him take evasive action during the India vs Namibia World Cup match at Pietermaritzburg on February 23, 2003.
"I could have been killed," Aleem told this newspaper way back then. "I got saved because of my good eye sight. I still play cricket, you know. In my four years of umpiring at the international level, this was the most powerful drive I ever saw," added Aleem, who was partnering English umpire David Shepherd in that game.