Players talk about David Shepherd June 3, 2005

'Well walked young man'

The second Test between West Indies and Pakistan will mark the end of David Shepherd's career as a Test umpire. Nagraj Gollapudi gets reactions on the man from the people who interacted with him on and off the field.



David Shepherd: a thorough gentleman, one of the best umpires © Getty Images

Kumar Sangakkara (Sri Lanka wicketkeeper)
He was always a thorough gentleman, courteous and one of the best umpires the game has seen. It was always a pleasure to have him during the game because he didn't have abrupt and rough manner with players; he was willing to explain why he made his decision the way he did. He was very direct, honest and straightforward with the players - that's one of the best qualities about him. I remember watching on television Sri Lanka beating England at The Oval in the one-off Test in 1998 when we needed 36 runs to win and Angus Fraser was bowling down the leg side. After a few deliveries, Shep had a chat with the bowler to set things right. Those are the kind of qualities that endear you to umpires. His hopping at the Nelson on the scoreboard, his courteous manners, and the fact that he was one of the larger umpires on display made him one of the more colourful characters in the game. He will be missed.

Zaheer Abbas (former colleague at Gloucestershire)
During my early days at Gloucester, I used to think what kind of a player Shepherd would be considering his weight and body size. But I realised that the amount of runs he had scored was remarkable. He was a fighter and scored when Gloucestershire needed him to. He enjoyed his life and kept everyone happy. I always enjoyed having him at the other end but whenever I was batting on 111 he would be lifting one of his legs, and I would shout, "What [are] you doing, man. Can't you stand still?" And he would say, "No, I can't." And he carried that hopping tradition to his umpiring job. His record clearly showed that not only was he an able player but a successful umpire too. Never a guy to get disturbed easily, Shepherd was an immaculate character -he would always be dressed elegantly with his tie and blazer at hand before and after the game.

Darren Lehmann (former Australian player)
He was always interesting: he loves the game, enjoys umpiring and he is going to be sorely missed. He was a character in the game, and we are going to miss playing under him as an official. He was a very good umpire, one who you knew was going to make the right decisions. He was always in control of the game and was at the same time a stern umpire which is excellent when you are trying to control a bunch of international cricketers. I always kept him on [my] side and never played any jokes though I knew he loved his beer and we shared many evenings after the day's play over drinks.

Tatenda Taibu (Zimbabwe captain)
I wasn't involved with Shep a lot, but when one talks to me about him the first thing that comes to mind is the game against India when I bat-padded a delivery from Bhajji [Harbhajan Singh] to short leg and walked. After the day's play Shepherd came to me and said, "Well walked young man, I hadn't seen the edge, thank you." Since then I have been full of respect for him because if a man of his stature can find time to thank a young boy who is only playing his third Test, it's just heart warming.

Raj Singh Dungarpur, former BCCI president
He was not only a great umpire but a great personality. Highly respected, there are not many umpires who have had universal acclaim. I guess he knew he couldn't betray his age, and with age one's reflexes aren't very sharp and particularly in this age of action replays, there is a lot of pressure on umpires. His presence made teams relax as he was impeccable and he has remained like that till today.

Nagraj Gollapudi is sub-editor of Wisden Asia Cricket

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