David Robert Shepherd
December 27, 1940, Bideford, Devon
October 27, 2009 (aged 68y 304d)
Right hand bat
Right arm medium
Barnstaple Grammar School; St Luke's College, Exeter
David Shepherd, who died in October 2009, aged 68, was a renowned international umpire who officiated in 172 ODIs, including three consecutive World Cup finals, and 92 Tests between 1983 and 2005. His roly-poly figure, good-humoured approach to officiating and quirky superstitions - most notably his 'jig' when scores reached 111 or a multiple thereof - made him a favourite with players and spectators the world over.
As a player, he was immensely popular, his figure again hiding his worth to Gloucestershire as a pugnacious middle-order batsman who contributed to the side both on and off the field. He made his county debut late - he was 25 - after dabbling in teaching, and smashed a hundred on debut. Despite his bulk, which made him something of a liability in the field, he excelled at the one-day game where his placing of shots compensated for his lack of speed between the wickets.
"It is not only his build, though that calls the deep-rooted countryman to mind," wrote Geoffrey Moorhouse. "His bottom hand is clamped massively just above the shoulder of the bat,, as some ancestor probably held a scythe, or possibly a blacksmith's maul. He stands ... head scanning the field of play the way men do by gates when they are contemplating crops.
Shepherd was appointed a first-class umpire in 1981, and made his international debut at the 1983 World Cup. He would go onto become one of the game's most decorated and beloved officials. At the time of his death, only Steve Bucknor and Rudi Koertzen had stood in more Tests.
His last Test match was between West Indies and Pakistan in Kingston in June 2005 - after which Brian Lara presented him with a bat inscribed with a message thanking him for "the service, the memories and the professionalism" - and his final county appearance came at his former home ground of Bristol. Shepherd had represented Gloucestershire as a batsman over a 14-year career, which included 282 first-class matches and 12 centuries.
Upon his retirement from umpiring, Shepherd returned to Devon and remained involved with his local club, North Devon CC. He married Jenny, his long-time partner, in 2008.
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