HomeSportsCricket20 All-Time Best Cricket Umpires in the World | The Unsung Heroes...
-- Advertisement --

20 All-Time Best Cricket Umpires in the World | The Unsung Heroes of Cricket

- Advertisement -

Umpiring is one of the most crucial and difficult parts of any sport. And in Cricket, umpires have it more difficult than in any other Sport. It takes some serious talent to judge if the batsman has edged the ball as far as 22 yards or to give an LBW decision. But despite the difficulty level of their job, umpiring is not the most popular profession in Cricket. Even a diehard Cricket fan might struggle to name more than five famous Umpires in the history of the Cricket world.

-- Advertisement --

And that is a shame. Despite DRS and various technological advancements, a lot depends on an umpire in the game of Cricket. One bad decision can swing the game the wrong way and hence, an umpire has to be at his best throughout the game. Umpires are expected to give out the right decision, every time, irrespective of the intense pressure from the fans or the players. The kind of intense focus and decision-making capabilities that goes into the umpiring profession is rarely seen in any other job. So, without further ado, let us take a look at 20 of the best and most famous Cricket Umpires of all time.

20 Best Cricket Umpires In The World

S.No Cricket Umpires
1 Tony Hill
2 Srinivas Venkatraghavan
3 Daryl Harper
4 Rudi Koertzen
5 Billy Bowden
6 Aleem Dar
7 Steve Bucknor
8 David Shepherd
9 Simon Taufel
10 Dickie Bird
11 Marais Erasmus
12 Nigel Llong
13 Ian Gould
14 Kumar Dharmasena
15 Nitin Menon
16 Michael Gough
17 Richard Illingworth
18 Richard Kettleborough
19 Chris Gaffaney
20 Joel Wilson

Cricket Umpires: Tony Hill

Umpiring KreedOn
Credits NZ Cricket

Anthony Lloyd Hill or simply Tony Hill to the Cricket World is a retired Kiwi umpire. Tony started his umpiring career in 1998 during an ODI game between New Zealand and Zimbabwe. And he has come a long way since then with more than 150 games officiated in all three formats.

The New Zealander made his debut in test cricket in 2001 and his T20 debut in 2005. ICC often appointed Hill for matches away from New Zealand as a neutral umpire. He was appointed to the ICC Elite Panel of Umpires in 2009.

Despite entering the international umpiring without any first-class cricket experience, Hill finished his 15-year career with 64 Tests, 139 ODIs, and 24 T20s. After his retirement in 2013, Hill worked as the New Zealand Cricket umpire coach.

Also Read | Top 10 Cricket Umpire salary | Facts that will surprise you

Tony Hill Stats

Format Mat Umpire
Test 64 40
ODI 139 97
T20I 24 17

Cricket Umpires: Srinivas Venkatraghavan

Srinivas Venkataraghavan KreedOn
Credits BBC

Srinivas Venkataraghavan will always be in the history books of Indian Cricket as the captain of the first two Cricket World Cups. But if you dig a little dipper, Venkat, as he was commonly called, is also the only Indian umpire to make it to the ICC Elite Panel of Umpires.

-- Advertisement --

Venkat made his debut in umpiring in 1993, ten years after his retirement from international cricket. He made both his ODI and test debuts officiating India vs England games during England’s tour to India.

A quality off-spinner during his playing time, Venkat carried his ability to make quick decisions in umpiring as well. At the end of his 11-year career in 2004, Venkat had officiated 79 tests, 47 T20, and 78 ODIs. He was honored with Padma Shri by the Government of India in 2003.

Srinivas Venkatraghavan Stats

Format Mat Umpire
Test 79 73
ODI 78 52
T20 47 47(Referee)

richest cricketer in world KreedOnAlso Read | Top 10 richest cricketer in the world

Cricket Umpires: Daryl Harper

Credits News 18

Daryl Harper had an incredible 17-year career in umpiring where he became the first Australian to be included in ICC Elite Panel of Umpires in 2002. The Australian made his first-class umpiring debut in 1987 and officiated the first ODI game in 1994.

Harper made his test debut in 1998 Ashes, officiating at the WACA ground – Some way to make a test debut. In total, the Australian officiated 104 test matches, 221 ODIs, and 17 T20s.

He received ‘ICC Bronze Bails Award’ in 2005 for completing 100 ODI games in international cricket. Usually a calm and accurate umpire, Harper came under fire during the 2011 India vs West Indies test series and was forced into retirement due to ‘performance reasons’.

Daryl Harper stats

Format Mat Umpire
Test 104 95
ODI 221 176
T20I 17 10

Cricket Umpires: Rudi Koertzen

Rudi Koertzen KreedOn
Credits Sports Mirchi

You might remember the South African umpire due to his white goatee and sunglasses look. But Rudi Koertzen was much more than that. The South African is one of the only two umpires in the history of Cricket to officiate 100+ test matches and 200+ ODIs.

-- Advertisement --

Koertzen made his international debut in 1992 in both ODI and Tests during India’s tour of South Africa. He also became the original member of the ICC Elite Panel of Umpires on its foundation in 2002. Koertzen was also famous for his style of raising his index finger very slowly to adjudge the batsman out.

The South African officiated some of the high-profile games during his career, including India vs Pakistan, The Ashes, World Cup semi-finals, and the Champions Trophy finals in 2004 and 2006.

Koertzen has received ICC Bronze, Silver, and Golden Bails Awards and is the only umpire to receive all three of them. He also became the first umpire to stand in 200 ODIs and eventually finished his career with 206 – most by any umpire to the date. With 108 tests and 14 T20s, Koertzen had one of the best-umpiring careers without a doubt.

Rudi Koertzen stats

Format Mat Umpire
Test 128 108
ODI 250 209
T20I 19 14

Top 10 most Educated Cricketers | Guess Who Tops The List- KreedOnAlso Read | 10 Most Educated Cricketers | Guess Who Tops The List

Cricket Umpires: Billy Bowden

Billy Bowden KreedOn

We all know him and we all love him – the ever-entertaining Billy Bowden. The Kiwi umpire is famous for his dancing signals to indicate four and six. And his famous crooked finger to adjudge a batsman out became so famous that he featured in an advertisement during the 2011 World Cup.

Bowden made his ODI debut in 1995 during New Zealand vs Sri Lanka game at Hamilton. He also became part of ICC’s very first Elite Panel in 2002 and was a regular in almost every ICC tournament for the next decade or so.

The New Zealander retired in 2016 with 84 tests, 200 ODIs, and 24 T20s under his belt. But his unique umpiring style will stay in the minds of Cricket fans forever. How can we ever forget that he once showed a red card to Glenn McGrath on the cricket field?

Billy Bowden Stats

Format Mat Umpire
Test 104 84
ODI 259 200
T20I 32 24

Cricket Umpires: Aleem Dar

Cricket umpires
Credits BBC

Another household name amongst Cricket fans and the only active umpire in this list, Aleem Dar is a legend of the game ever before his retirement. The Pakistani umpire made his debut in 2000 and is still going strong after 19 years. 

-- Advertisement --

The 54-year old has officiated the finals of all three ICC tournaments – World Cup, Champions Trophy, and T20 World Cup. The member of ICC’s Elite Panel, Aleem Dar was the one to break Simon Taufel’s dominance over the best umpire award, winning the award in 2009, 2010, and 2011. He has also been awarded the President’s Award for the Pride of Performance by the Government of Pakistan.

Aleem Dar Stats

Format Mat Umpire
Test 172 145
ODI 291 225
T20I 88 70

Cricket Umpires: Steve Bucknor

Cricket umpires
Credits Twitter

Indians don’t like him a lot for apparently incorrectly giving marching orders to Sachin Tendulkar on more than one occasion. And above all, his involvement in the infamous “Monkeygate” during India’s tour of Australia in 2008.

But take nothing away from Steve Bucknor who has had a fantastic 20-year career in umpiring. The Jamaican will go down as one of the finest umpires in cricket without a doubt.

Bucknor made his international debut in 1989 and in his career of two decades, he became the first umpire to stand in 100 tests. The Jamaican currently holds the record for most tests officiated as well.

He has also officiated 208 ODIs, and 130 Test. But his most unique record has to be the 5 consecutive World Cup finals from 1992 to 2007. Bucknor has received the ICC Bronze and Golden Bails award and Order of Jamaica.

Fun Fact: Bucknor has also officiated a football game as a FIFA referee back in 1988 – A World Cup qualifier between El Salvador and the Netherlands Antilles.

Steve Bucknor Stats

Format Mat Umpire
Test 130 128
ODI 208 182

HOW TO BECOME A CRICKET UMPIRE IN INDIA? Know what qualifications & skills required- KreedOnAlso Read | How To Become a Cricket Umpire In India?

Cricket Umpires: David Shepherd

Cricket umpires
David Shepherd’s famous “Nelson” (Credits The Times)

Another legendary name in the umpiring world, David Shepherd was a fine batsman during his time. The Englishman has scored 10,000 plus runs in First-class cricket. After retiring as a player in 1979, Shepherd turned to the umpire and quickly became a part of the 1983 World Cup.

The Englishman made his test debut in 1985 during The Ashes in England. In his 22-year career, Shepherd officiated 92 tests and 172 ODIs. Shepherd was the first umpire to stand in for the matches of all test-playing nations. Shepherd officiated in three straight World Cup finals from 1996 to 2003.

Famous for his habit of lifting one foot off the ground whenever the score reached 111, Shepherd’s “Nelson” was considered unlucky for the batting side. A cheerful character on the field, Shepherd died of lung cancer in 2009.

But he left a mark on cricket umpiring and ICC decided to name the award for the best umpire after him – “The David Shepherd Trophy”.

David Shepherd Stats

Format Mat Umpire
Test 92 92
ODI 188 172

Cricket Umpire Signals KreedOnAlso Read | Decoding Cricket Umpire Signals: A Comprehensive Guide

Cricket Umpires: Simon Taufel

Cricket umpires
Cricket Umpires: Simon Taufel (Credits Crictracker)

Although the award for the best umpire was named after David Shepherd of England, it was dominated by Simon Taufel of Australia. Since the award’s inception in 2004, Taufel won five consecutive awards until 2008.

The Australian started umpiring at just the age of 24, after having to give up on his cricketing career due to an injury. Taufel made his debut in 1999 at the age of 27 and continued to be amongst the best until his retirement.

He made his Test debut on Boxing Day 2000 in a match between Australia and West Indies. Taufel was known for his accuracy and sublime decision-making and was famous amongst the players and experts.

The Australian has officiated 74 tests, 174 ODIs, 34 T20s, and was the youngest to reach 100 ODIs at the age of 36. But he had to wait until the 2011 World Cup to officiate the final of the famous competition, due to Australia’s dominance in previous editions.

Taufel shockingly retired in 2012 at just the age of 41 but took on a new challenge as ICC’s Umpire Performance and Training Manager.

Simon Taufel Stats

Format Mat Umpire
Test 87 74
ODI 221 174
T20I 42 34

Top 10 all-time best bowlers in the world | KreedOnAlso Read | Top 10 All-Time Best Bowlers in the World

Cricket Umpires: Dickie Bird

Cricket umpires
Cricket Umpires: Dickie Bird (Credits: Medium)

Harold Dennis “Dickie Bird” – Arguably the best cricket umpire of all time! The Englishman was loved by everyone in the cricket world, fans, opponents, players, and experts during his 23-year umpiring career.

Having to give up football due to an injury, Bird turned to cricket where he had a below-average career. The Englishman then turned to umpiring in 1970 and made his international debut in 1973.

Bird officiated 66 tests and 69 ODIs and managed to earn the respect of even some of the most hot-blooded players on the field with his humor. He was also one of the very few umpires to have a fan following of his own. In a very famous incident during the inaugural World Cup, a fan ran on the field after the game to grab Bird’s hat.

In his last game as an umpire in 1996, India and England formed a “guard of honor” for Dickie Bird. The Englishman has received both the Member of the Order of British Empire (MBE) in 1986 and the Officer of the Order of British Empire (OBE) in 2012. The statue of Bird raising his index finger has been erected near his place of birth in Barnsley.

Dickie Bird Stats

Format Mat Umpire
Test 66 66
ODI 69 69

Cricket Umpires: Marais Erasmus

cricket umpires KreedOn
Image Source: espn
Format Mat Umpire
Test 119 77
ODI 174 115
T20I 61 43

Cricket Umpires: Nigel Llong

Cricket umpires KreedOn
Image Source: indiatoday
Format Mat Umpire
Test 91 62
ODI 210 130
T20I 44 32

Cricket Umpires: Ian Gould

cricket umpires KreedOn
Image Source: indianexpress
Format Mat Umpire
Test 99 74
ODI 188 141
T20I 55 37

Cricket Umpires: Kumar Dharmasena

cricket umpires KreedOn
Image Source: skysports
Format Mat Umpire
Test 98 78
ODI 179 118
T20I 61 42

Also Read | Cricket Pitches in India – Types | Construction | Controversies

Cricket Umpires: Nitin Menon

cricket umpires KreedOn
Image Source: circleofcricket
Format Mat Umpire
Test 22 18
ODI 45 42
T20I 61 40

Cricket Umpires: Michael Gough

Image Source: reddit
Format Mat Umpire
Test 43 30
ODI 104 74
T20I 32 22

Richard Illingworth

Image Source: icc
Format Mat Umpire
Test 91 63
ODI 138 77
T20I 40 27

Richard Kettleborough

cricket umpires
Image Source: icc
Format Mat Umpire
Test 109 78
ODI 145 95
T20I 51 36

Best Cricket Helmets - KreedOn Also Read | Top 10 Cricket Helmets for best protection & at Most safety

Chris Gaffaney

Image Source: latestLY
Format Mat Umpire
Test 75 48
ODI 113 77
T20I 59 43

Joel Wilson

Image Source: thegardian
Format Mat Umpire
Test 47 34
ODI 113 84
T20I 59 43

cricket batting pads - KreedOnRead More | Top 10 Best Cricket Batting Pads


Who are the top cricket umpires in the world currently?

Currently, there are various top cricket umpires in the world, including Aleem Dar of Pakistan, Kumar Dharmasena of Sri Lanka, Marais Erasmus of South Africa, Richard Illingworth of England, etc.

How are cricket umpires selected for international matches?

Cricket umpires are selected based on their performance and experience in domestic cricket matches. The International Cricket Council (ICC) also maintains a panel of elite umpires, who are appointed to officiate in international matches.

What are some of the qualities that make a good cricket umpire?

Some of the qualities that make a good cricket umpire include an in-depth knowledge of the laws of the game, good communication skills, the ability to make quick decisions under pressure, and the ability to maintain impartiality in the game.

Can cricket umpires be penalized for making incorrect decisions?

While cricket umpires strive to make correct decisions, they are human and can make mistakes. The ICC also uses technology, such as the Decision Review System (DRS), to reduce the number of incorrect decisions made by on-field umpires.

Follow us on: InstagramFacebookYouTubeWhatsApp and be part of KreedOn’s community

For more sports knowledge and latest stories on Indian sports and athletes

Subscribe Now Receive exciting Indian sports stories on your WhatsApp now.
Chinmay Pagar
Chinmay Pagar
I might be a Mechanical Engineer on the paper, but I was a Sports enthusiast since childhood, screaming at the TV watching cricket at the age of 4. Not much excites me other than sports unless it's free pizza. I can watch literally anything remotely related to sports; Cricket, Football, Tennis, F1, Hockey, Athletics, Chess, you name it! And I love to write too, so at the time I'm not watching sports, I'm writing about it. Or eating pizzas, of course.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here