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Bangladeshi umpire breaks barriers at ICC World Cup


Sharfuddoula Ibne Shahid. — Facebook

Sharfuddoula Ibne Shahid, a former top-class cricketer, is set to create history as he becomes the first Bangladeshi umpire in a World Cup match. 

The achievement is a testament to his perseverance and “thick skin” developed over years of facing criticism. 

In an exclusive interview ahead of the ICC World Cup’s opening on October 5, Sharfuddoula shared insights into his journey and the challenges of umpiring in Bangladesh. He also revealed his secret for his success. 

The Road to Umpiring

Sharfuddoula’s journey to the ICC World Cup began with a twist of fate. 

After an injury ended his promising first-class cricket career in 2001, he joined the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) as its cricket operations manager. However, his passion for the game led him to make a bold career move in 2007 when he decided to become an umpire.

Since then, Sharfuddoula has been a fixture in international cricket, officiating in nine Tests, 54 one-day internationals, and 43 Twenty20 internationals. 

His appointment as the fourth umpire for the World Cup’s opening match between England and New Zealand, as well as the on-field umpire for five other matches, marks a significant milestone in his career.

The ‘Thick Skin’ of an Umpire

Umpiring in Bangladesh has always been a high-pressure job, often overshadowed by the nation’s cricketing obsession. Sharfuddoula described the challenges of officiating home games, where emotions can sometimes cloud judgment. 

“No one bothers about the umpires. That’s the biggest challenge,” he revealed.

Criticism towards umpires in Bangladesh has been a longstanding issue, and Sharfuddoula emphasized the need for fair treatment. “If umpires are not unduly criticised, if reward is given when it is due, that will change Bangladesh cricket and cricketers as well,” he stated.

Inspiring a New Generation of Umpires

Beyond his personal achievement, Sharfuddoula sees his role in the ICC World Cup as an opportunity to pave the way for more Bangladeshi umpires on the world stage. Despite Bangladesh achieving Test status in 2000, the country is yet to have any umpires on the elite panel of the International Cricket Council.

“We now have a good bunch of international umpires. I hope many more umpires will come out, and they will do not only the World Cup but many other tournaments,” Sharfuddoula said, highlighting the changing perception of Bangladeshi umpires.

As Sharfuddoula prepares to make history in one of cricket’s most prestigious tournaments, he remains humble and proud to represent his country. 

“Being the first Bangladeshi to officiate in the World Cup, I have the same feeling. I hope it will not be the last, but first of many,” he said, with a vision of inspiring a new generation of cricket officials in Bangladesh.



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