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Asad Rauf, former ICC elite umpire from Pakistan, dies aged 66

Asad Rauf, the former ICC elite umpire from Pakistan who officiated in 231 international matches across 13 years, has passed away due to a cardiac arrest in Lahore. He was 66. Rauf, who began umpiring in the year 2000, was promoted to ICC’s elite panel in 2006 and over the next seven years went on to become one of Pakistan’s most prominent umpires.

Along with Aleem Dar, Rauf’s emergence gave a new identity to Pakistan’s umpiring panel and enhanced its reputation, which for years prior was being let down by its poor standards. Rauf made his umpiring debut in 1998 during a First-Class game before standing in his maiden ODI two years later. In 2004, Rauf was elevated to the ODI panel in 2004 and officiated in his first Test the following year in 2005.

Rauf continued to officiate matches at the top level till 2013 before his career came to a halt after his name was involved in the 2013 IPL spot-fixing scandal. Rauf was one of the ‘wanted accused’ by the Mumbai police and the whole development spoiled his umpiring career. Three years later, in 2016, the BCCI banned Rauf after he was found guilty of indulging in corrupt practices and disrupting the game. He was accused of accepting gifts from bookies and his involvement in the 2013 IPL spot-fixing scandal. The year before, Rauf was also accused of sexual exploitation from a model based out of Mumbai after she claimed that he had promised to marry her but backed out.

Before taking up umpiring, Rauf enjoyed a pretty decent career as a domestic cricketer in Pakistan. A big hit in the 1980s as a right-handed batter, Rauf scored 3423 runs from 71 First-Class games and 611 runs in 40 List-A matches. The 1986-87 season was a breakout year for Rauf as he amassed 673 runs at an average of 35.36 including five fifties and one century. But due to poor form, he could only sustain his cricket career for another year before venturing into umpiring.

Rauf wasn’t in the news until earlier this year, when a video of him selling shoes at Pakistan’s famous Landa Bazaar went viral. Rauf mentioned that 10 years after standing in his final ODI, he has lost interest in cricket and now wants to excel in his new role.

“This isn’t for me, this is the daily wages of my staff, I work for them. I’ve umpired in so many games all my life, there’s no one left to see now. I haven’t been in touch with the game since 2013, because once I leave something I leave it completely,” Rauf had said in a recent interview to a Pakistani news channel, Paktv.tv back in June.

“It is my habit to reach the peak of whatever work I do. I started work as a shopkeeper, I have reached its peak. I played cricket; I reached the peak. And then when I started out as an umpire, I said to myself that I need to reach the peak here as well. I have no greed. I have seen a lot of money, and I have seen the world, with protocol. One of my sons is a special child. The other one has just come back from America (US) after completing his graduation.”

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