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November 04, 2009

Praise throughout the game for David Shepherd

Some of the most famous names from the world of cricket have had their say on the death of David Shepherd. The former international umpiredied last Wednesday after a battle with cancer, aged 68.

During his career as an umpire, Shepherd officiated in 92 test and 172 one-day international matchesbefore deciding to retire in 2005. Only Steve Bucknor and Rudi Koertzen have stood in more tests than the Englishman who was famous for his aversion to ‘Nelson’.

Whenever the score was on a multiple of 111, he used to nervously hop at the crease between deliveries, much to the amusement of the crowd. In fact, it was one of many characteristics that made him a very popular character within the game.

Tributes have poured in for him as well since his death. Former England captain Michael Vaughan said he was a ‘respected individual because he got a lot of decisions right’ and because of his close relationships with the players, he will be ‘greatly missed’.

Dickie Bird – who umpired alongside him on many occasions – said that Shepherd was a ‘fine umpire and great friend’. ICC President David Morgan echoed these sentiments by describing Shepherd as a ‘true gentleman’ of the game.

Morgan also reminded everybody that Shepherd was a ‘fine player’ as well as a ‘match official of the highest quality’. David Graveney also had his say by describing him as ‘universally popular with players and crowds alike.’

So, there has been plenty of praise for a man that brought so much to the sport of cricket. To my mind, it is a shame that there aren’t more officials like him around today. An umpire that can have a laugh with the crowd and players is exactly what cricket needs.

He will be greatly missed

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