Former ICC elite panel umpire Asad Rauf, who was among Pakistan’s leading umpires in the mid 2000s, died aged 66 after suffering a cardiac arrest in Lahore. According to media reports, he passed away soon after he returned from his shop on Wednesday night. Rauf officiated in 64 Tests (49 as on-field, 15 as the third umpire) and 139 ODIs (98 as on-field, 41 as the third umpire) and 28 T20Is (23 as on-field, 5 as the third umpire).
Alongside compatriot Aleem Dar, Rauf was one of Pakistan’s most prominent umpires. Rauf represented Pakistan in 71 First-class games, where he gathered 3423 runs. He also played 40 List A matches, scoring 611 runs. His umpiring career kick-started in 1998 and in 2000, he officiated his first international match, which was an ODI between Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
As tributes began to flood on social media, PCB chairman Ramiz Raja condoled the demise of Rauf and shared a heartfelt note for him. Raja took to Twitter and wrote, “Saddened to hear about passing of Asad Rauf. Not only was he a good umpire but also had a wicked sense of humour. He always put a smile on my face and will continue to do so whenever I think about him. Many sympathies with his family for their loss.”
Pakistan wicket keeper-batter Kamran Akmal also took to Twitter to convey his condolences. “Sad to know about the news of former ICC umpire Asad Rauf’s demise,” he wrote.
“The PCB expresses its grief on the demise of former first-class cricketer and elite panel umpire Asad Rauf. Asad played 71 first-class matches and umpired in 170 international matches, including 2007 and 2011 World Cups matches,” tweeted PCB.
Rauf, who played for National Bank and Railways during his extensive first-class career, thrived in his new role of officiating. He joined the ICC elite panel in 2006, a year after umpiring in his first Test match.
Rauf’s career, however, was marred by charges of spot-fixing and match-fixing in cricket matches, and in February 2016 he received a five-year suspension after being found guilty of corruption.
Rauf reportedly was running a used-goods shop in Lahore’s Landa Bazar – the video of which had gone viral earlier this year. He mentioned that 10 years after standing in his final ODI, he has lost interest in cricket and he now wants to reach the peak in his new role.
“Maine 2013 ke baad cricket se bilkul hi…kyunki mai jo kaam chhodta hu usko chhod hi deta hu (I haven’t been in touch with the game since 2013, because once I leave something I leave it completely),” said Rauf in an interview to Paktv.tv.
He spoke about his idea of running the shop despite being in the elite panel of umpires in the past. “Bhai, ye mera kaam nahi hai, ye mere staff ki rozi lagi hui hai, ye mai unke liye krta hu (This isn’t for me, this is the daily wages of my staff, I work for them).”
“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,” said Rauf.