It was with great sadness I heard the news today of former umpire David Shepherd’s passing away at the age of 68 after a long fight with cancer.
Shepherd umpired in 92 tests and 192 odi’s and was one of the most respected umpires on the international and English county circuit.
My first memories of umpires from when I started watching cricket was Dickie Bird and David Shepherd umpiring England home tests in the days before neutral umpires came in. Dickie Bird retired before the neutral umpires days started, but Shepherd continued on the international circuit and was rewarded by officiating in three World Cup finals.
He was a pleasure to watch umpire and he always seemed happy and jovial when officiating. A testament to his popularity is the amount of tributes paid to him in the hours since his passing by the cricket community – players, officals and fans alike – from around the world.
As a watcher of international cricket (on television) myself I saw a lot of his tests at neutral venues and his standing with players from around the World seemed as good as with his fellow Englishmen.
He was most famous for his walk out to square leg and his superstitious jig every time the score was on ‘Nelson’ 111 or 222 etc. The MCC flag at Lord’s was flying at half mast on Wednesday as a mark of respect.
Rest In Peace