By Shweta Lohia:
On 21st January 1971, a boy came into this world whom we, today recognize as the finest umpire that the game of Cricket has ever seen. A resident of Sydney, Simon Taufel, has been one of the most skilled umpires of this generation. Owing to some “personal and professional reasons” Taufel is now retiring from his fourteen-year-long career of being an international umpire and is taking up the new role of ICC’s umpire performance and training manager .
The forty-one-year-old aspired to become a cricketer and therefore began playing for ‘Cammery Cricket Club’ in the ‘Northern Suburbs Cricket Association‘ as a fast-medium bowler. In the 1990-1991 season, he proved that hard work and determination can bring one closer to their dreams by winning the club’s “best and fairest” award and was also the leading wicket-taker.
However, fate took a cruel turn and Simon was diagnosed with a back injury. He could not return to field and chase his dream but he did not lose hope. The choices he made next turned him into a living legend: he stepped into the world of umpiring. Simon Taufel quickly climbed the ladder of success and made his One Day International debut on 13th January 1999 in a match played between Australia and Sri Lanka in Sydney.
Soon emerged a massive fan following because Simon bewitched the audience with his extraordinary abilities and turned out to be a discerning umpire. In the words of the ICC Chief Executive, Dave Richardson “Simon has been the most respected umpires for over a decade due to his excellent decision making and man-management skills”. Throughout his outstanding career, Simon Taufel officiated in 74 test matches, 174 ODI’s and 26 T20’s. He was named the ICC’s umpire of the year on five successive occasions between 2004 to 2008. In January 2007 he also became the youngest umpire to stand in ODI’s and received the ICC’s ‘Bronze Bails’ award for the same. Taufel said that he used to ”butterflies” before big matches, during his initial days and he therefore proved to be an ordinary man with an extraordinary will and is the role model of many around the world. Simon Taufel is eager to mentor the upcoming officials. Dave Richardson is “looking forward to the changes he will bring to the game under his new position” and so are we. We wish him luck for his future endeavours. He will however be missed on the field.
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