Dubai: As Australia and New Zealand take the field to play the first Test of the three-match series, on-field umpire Aleem Dar will break the record for officiating in the most number of matches in the longest format of the game.
Dar will break West Indies' Steve Bucknor's record for officiating in the most number of Test matches as an on-field umpire.
The first Test between Australia and New Zealand, slated to begin from December 11 will be Dar's 129th Test match.
"This is one milestone I had never thought of when I began my umpiring career. It is a truly amazing feeling and a high point of my life when I take the field here in Australia; thousands of miles from where I started my international career at home in Gujranwala," Dar said in an official statement.
"Steve Bucknor was my idol and it is only sinking in now that I will have officiated in more Test matches than him. In the nearly two decades of my international career, I have had the good fortune of watching some memorable matches and achievements like Brian Lara's Test knock of 400 not out and South Africa's epic chase of Australia's score of 434 in an ODI in Johannesburg in 2006," he added.
The 51-year-old had made his umpiring debut in Dhaka in 2003 during England's tour of Bangladesh.
He started his umpiring career in ODIs in 2000 during Pakistan's home ODI series against Sri Lanka. Dar has officiated in 207 ODIs and is only two matches shy of the record of 209 matches in that format held by Rudi Koertzen of South Africa.
"I would like to take this opportunity to thank them as well as the International Cricket Council and the Pakistan Cricket Board for giving me the chances I got. I am also thankful to all my colleague match officials for their support over the years. I am committed to doing my best in the coming years and taking on more challenges," Dar said.
Dar has also officiated in 46 Twenty20 Internationals.
"Aleem has been a dedicated and consistent umpire over the years. He has been a member of the Emirates ICC Elite Panel of Umpires for over 15 years standing across formats with distinction," Adrian Griffith, ICC Senior Manager Umpires and Referee said.
"I congratulate Aleem on this milestone and wish him all the best for the game. It is not easy officiating in this modern day of intense scrutiny, but I am sure with his dedication he will continue to move umpiring forward in the years to come," he added.