South Africa's Adrian Holdstock and Pakistan's Ahsan Raza have been included in the Emirates ICC Elite Panel of Umpires even as veteran Aleem Dar has stepped down after 19 years on the Elite panel, standing in a record 435 men's international matches.
The ICC Elite Umpire Selection Panel headed by ICC General Manager – Cricket, Wasim Khan, made the additions during the annual review and selection process, increasing the number of umpires on the panel from 11 to 12.
Aleem, who has been on the Elite panel since its inception in the year 2002, has officiated in more Tests and ODIs than any other umpire and is second in T20Is, behind compatriot Ahsan.
Aleem reflected on his career and thanked his colleagues over the years.
ICC Chief Executive Geoff Allardice congratulated Aleem for a highly successful career."It has been a long journey, but I have enjoyed every bit of it. I have had the pleasure and honour of umpiring the world over and what I have achieved is something I did not even dream of when I started in the profession.
"Though I am still keen to continue as an international umpire, I felt it was now the right time, after 19 years on the road to step away from the Elite panel and provide an opportunity to someone from the International Panel. My message to umpires the world over is to work hard, maintain discipline and never stop learning.
"I thank the ICC, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and my colleagues on the panel for their support over the years. I would also like to thank my family; without whose support I could not have gone on for so long. I look forward to continuing to serve the game as an umpire".
Geoff Allardice: "Aleem's contribution to international cricket and to the ICC has been truly remarkable. Consistently elite performances over such a long period saw him enjoy enormous respect across all involved in international cricket. I wish Aleem all the best for the future and I am sure his involvement in the game will continue for many years to come.""
Holdstock has officiated in five Tests, 42 ODIs and 48 T20Is while Ahsan has stood in seven Tests, 41 ODIs and 72 T20Is. Both umpires were part of the panels for the ICC Men's T20 World Cups in 2021 and 2022.
Holdstock and Ahsan were enthusiastic on being inducted in the panel.
Adrian Holdstock: "This is a huge moment in my career as an umpire. I've been officiating internationally for a while, but the Elite panel is another level.
"I'm excited about the upcoming opportunities and look forward to giving my all in the new position. I appreciate all my colleagues, the ICC and Cricket South Africa for their support over the years. In addition, I want to thank my family, especially my wife Carmen, without whom I would not have been able to continue in a profession I love so much."
Ahsan Raza: "I feel extremely honoured and proud to be included in the Elite panel. I've always wanted to officiate regularly alongside the best match officials.
"I have already officiated in international matches across formats as well as in ICC events, so am aware of the enormous responsibility that this position entails. I hope to put all my experience over the years to good use but will continue to learn from my senior colleagues on the panel.
"I want to thank the ICC and the PCB for supporting me and helping me get to this point in my career. Thanks are also due to my wife and daughters for always being there for me."
The other members of the panel are: Chris Gaffaney (New Zealand), Kumar Dharmasena (Sri Lanka), Marais Erasmus (South Africa), Michael Gough (England), Nitin Menon (India), Paul Reiffel (Australia), Richard Illingworth (England), Richard Kettleborough (England), Rodney Tucker (Australia), Joel Wilson (West Indies).
There is no change in the Emirates ICC Elite Panel of Match Referees.
A brief profile of Aleem Dar:
Born 6 June 1968, Jhang, Pakistan
144 Tests (since 2003, more than anyone else)
222 ODIs (since 2000, more than anyone else)
69 T20Is (since 2009, currently in second place)
Stood in the finals of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2007 and 2011
Stood in the finals of the ICC T20 WC 2010 and 2012
He was the first Pakistani umpire to be part of the ICC Elite Panel of Umpires
Won the David Shepherd Trophy three years in a row - 2009, 2010 and 2011
In total, he stood in five ICC CWC tournaments and seven ICC T20 WC tournaments