'A true gentleman, a kind spirit and a great bloke'
David Shepherd was an inspiration to many international umpires, and his respect and popularity wasn't restricted to the cricket field. Simon Taufel, the five-time ICC Umpire of the Year, shares his experiences with Shepherd.
Shep's umpiring style convinced me that in order to be a good umpire, you needed to be a good person first. I first came in contact with Shep soon after becoming an international umpire and was a third umpire for him in his Australian Tests. Even as his junior in terms of age and experience, Shep always treated me with respect and was prepared to give me the benefit of his experience. He owed me nothing at this stage of my career, yet he gave freely.
I then umpired with Shep in the Pakistan v India Test series in 2003-04 when both countries resumed sporting relations after over a decade. I was thoroughly impressed by his match fitness in the heat of Pakistan as well as the enormous respect that the players had for him - a respect earned over many years of top-class umpiring and match management. I could never fault Shep's fairness, integrity or desire to umpire well. He took enormous pride in his work and in his performance - if he ever made an error, he took it personally, which showed me that he truly cared about what he was doing. Shep's umpiring record speaks for itself, but my fondest memories of Shep will be of the man - a true gentleman, a kind spirit and a great bloke. We'll miss him dearly and we are all better umpires for having had the opportunity to work with him.
Shep and I had a deal going with each other on tour - I would do an extra lap for him in the gym and he would have an extra scoop of ice cream at the end of a day's play for me. Now each time I go to the gym or have a scoop of ice cream, or see 111 on the scoreboard, I'll think of my mate Shep and say "thanks pal".
A great umpire and an even greater man.