By: The Kabul Times
Afghanistan and Zimbabwe are up against each other in the first Test match of the two-match series at Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The first day of the Test match between the two nations scripted history as the 44-year-old Ahmed Shah Pakteen became the first from Afghanistan to be an on-field umpire in the purest format of the game. He was accompanied by Aleem Dar from Pakistan on the field as the other on-field umpire for the game.
Ahmed had made his debut in the international circuit as an umpire in January 2017. Thus far, he has stood in 15 One Day Internationals and 20 T20 Internationals. Previously in 2019, Pakteen had become the first Afghanistan member to essay the role of a TV umpire during the only Test that was played between Afghanistan and Ireland. Later in January 2020, he became the first Afghanistan to don the hat of an umpire at an event hosted by the International Cricket Council.
Afghanistan have 4 umpires in the international panel
Ahmed had officiated at the Men’s Under-19 World Cup in South Africa. In the ongoing Test between Zimbabwe and Afghanistan, Ahmed Shah Durrani is essaying the role of the TV umpire. He registered his name as the second from Afghanistan after Pakteen to be a TV umpire in the longest format of the game. Durrani made his international umpiring debut in December 2016 and has been an on-field umpire 19 times in white-ball cricket.
Notably, Afghanistan doesn’t have even a single representative in the 12-member elite panel of umpires, the highest category of umpires decided by the International Cricket Council (ICC). However, in the international panel of umpires, there are four names from Afghanistan including Ahmed Shah Pakteen, Ahmed Shah Durrani, Bismillah Jan Shinwari, and Izatullah Safi.
With Pakteen making his Test debut as an on-field umpire, Ireland remains the only full-member nation of ICC to not have any on-field umpire from their country yet. The nation has featured in only three Test matches thus far and Mark Hawthorne is the only one to have essayed the role of the TV umpire. Mark was the TV umpire in Ireland’s debut Test, against Pakistan in 2018.