While cricketers are often praised for their show of sportsmanship during matches, the umpires are rarely noticed and talked about. However, ICC Elite Panel umpire Aleem Dar displayed that the Men Who Matter are true gentlemen of cricket just as well, as he set an example of professionalism in the fifth ODI between Sri Lanka and England on October 23 in Colombo.
Waiting in the heavy downpour to confirm a decision even as everyone else had left the field, Dar won everyone's hearts and attracted praise from all quarters for his action.
After Sri Lanka had set England a target of 367 for victory, the Eoin Morgan-led side had collapsed to 132 for 8 after 26 overs. In the first ball of the 27th over, off-spinner Akila Dananjaya trapped Liam Plunkett plumb in front of the stumps and Dar had no hesitation in raising his finger, thus indicating that he was out. However, the Englishman went for a review just as it started to rain heavily.
As all the players along with the square leg umpire left the field, the Pakistani waited in the rain for the DRS decision to come through, even as the covers were coming on.
The sight of Dar standing in the heavy downpour, that was being accompanied by thunder and lightning, became a topic of discussion on social media, with fans going on an overdrive to praise him for his act.
The third umpire ruled Plunkett out, and Dar was seen raising his finger to confirm the fall of England's ninth wicket before he ran off the ground.
Here is a video of the incident.
The match eventually ended with Sri Lanka winning the game via the Duckworth-Lewis method, with the match not resuming after this particular incident. English suffered their worst-ever defeat in an ODI (by 219 runs), as the hosts were finally able to register a win under their belt. However, Sri Lanka still lost the series 1-4.