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'Indo-Pak semifinal was the most exciting'

Colombo, Oct 6, 2012, DHNS:

Australian umpire Simon Taufel looks back at his career in his farewell press do

Simon Taufel / File AP

Australian Simon Taufel, who will retire as ICC Elite Panel umpire after Sunday’s World T20 final here, termed the 2011 World Cup semifinal between India and Pakistan as the “most exciting match” of his 13 and half years of career.

“When I look back, there are many memorable moments. But I can instantly remember the India versus Pakistan game at Mohali during the 2011 World Cup semifinal as the most exciting one,” pointed out the 41-year-old at his farewell press do. “The Prime Ministers of the two countries were present and it was more than just a game of cricket. I believe there were two finals in 2011 World Cup. The semifinal and the final,” Taufel remarked on Saturday.

The winner of the ICC Umpire of the Year award for five straight years between 2004 and 2008, Taufel officiated in 74 Tests and 174 one-day internationals. The World T20 final on Sunday will be his 34th T20 international.

The former first-class cricketer mentioned the Test match between India and England in Mumbai was the toughest of his career. “They were the longest five days as I was not well. I was bitten by the stomach bug in Mohali. It was a physical as well as a mental test for me.”

If he had some difficult times on the field like the one in Mumbai, Taufel had a horrifying experience in Pakistan when terrorists attacked Sri Lankan players and match officials team bus near Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore back in March, 2009. Taufel admitted the incident changed the priorities in life. “That day did change me personally and I think my family is happy to see me sitting over here. I learnt a lot on that day and it helped me focus on the priorities of my life. After that incident, I had to make a difficult phone call to my wife,” he recalled.

Taufel, however, will not be lost to cricket as he will now be an ICC High Performance Manager for Umpires. “I always wanted to finish at an ICC event and go out on my own terms. I wanted to have my family here when I would walk away from on-field international umpiring. People and players would expect that I have a good game tomorrow.”

The Aussie sidestepped the question on DRS. “I don’t wish to comment. It is a matter that (ICC CEO) Dave (Richardson) is taking up with the various cricket committees. My job is to see how technology has a role in the game and also develop and educate future match officials. We want to work with national cricket boards to realize their potential.”


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