HRH The Duke of Edinburgh leads tributes as Shepherd stands in final international match
Tributes have flooded in from around the cricket world to mark the end of Emirates Elite Panel umpire David Shepherd's international career.
Today's NatWest Challenge match between England and Australia is Shepherd's last as a member of the Emirates Elite Panel of ICC Umpires and Referees. To commemorate Shepherd's retirement, His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh has led a series of glowing tributes to one of cricket's greatest-ever umpires.
He said: "David Shepherd has a pretty good record as a player in first class cricket, but his success as an umpire is not measured in statistics. Really good umpires need a special kind of personality and temperament in order to exercise that discreet control which makes such a difference to the quality of any match.
"I am delighted to have this opportunity to add my congratulations and best wishes to David Shepherd on his retirement."
Australian Prime Minister John Howard added his own message of goodwill: "Those who love and follow the game in Australia will miss `Shep' no longer officiating in international matches and the unique contribution he brought over many years to these games," said Mr Howard.
Sir John Major, the former British Prime Minister sent a personal letter to Shepherd: "You have brought skill and character to a game that thrives on both these attributes and we all owe you our thanks. May you stand on both your feet until at least the age of 111."
Ehsan Mani, the ICC President led the tributes from the cricketing world.
He said: "There are few officials in the history of sport who have commanded such respect from players. I was fortunate to witness on television the scenes after your final Test match in Jamaica and to see the warmth of feeling towards you from players, officials and the crowd."
Michael Vaughan, the England captain spoke on behalf of the England team when he said: "Shep - we will miss you in the middle - especially when the score gets to 111 and you start going walkabout at square leg! Good luck with your retirement, you have been an outstanding umpire, a true professional and a great credit to the game."
And Australian captain Ricky Ponting sent a message on behalf of his team. "Australian teams have always enjoyed playing in matches officiated by Shep. He has always had a great rapport with players and is universally liked and respected throughout the cricketing world. His contribution to the game has been immense and on behalf of Australian cricket I say congratulations on a wonderful international career."
David Shepherd has officiated in 172 One-Day International matches and 92 Test matches. He will continue to umpire domestic cricket for the remainder of the 2005 English county season.
Further tributes to Shepherd can be viewed on the ICC website, www.icc-cricket.com shortly