Sharfuddoula Ibne Shahid, a former top-class cricketer from Bangladesh, is set to make history as the first Bangladeshi umpire in a World Cup match. This remarkable achievement reflects his resilience and ability to withstand years of criticism. In an exclusive interview before the ICC World Cup’s opening on October 5, Sharfuddoula shared insights into his journey and the challenges of umpiring in Bangladesh, as well as his secret to success.
Sharfuddoula’s journey to the ICC World Cup began unexpectedly. After a career-ending injury halted his promising first-class cricket career in 2001, he joined the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) as a cricket operations manager. However, his unwavering passion for the game led him to make a bold career move in 2007 when he decided to become an umpire. Since then, Sharfuddoula has been a prominent figure in international cricket, officiating in nine Tests, 54 one-day internationals, and 43 Twenty20 internationals. His appointment as the fourth umpire for the World Cup’s opening match between England and New Zealand, as well as the on-field umpire for five other matches, marks a significant milestone in his career.
Umpiring in Bangladesh has always been a high-pressure job, often overshadowed by the nation’s cricketing fervor. Sharfuddoula discussed the challenges of officiating home games, where emotions can sometimes cloud judgment. He highlighted the lack of attention given to umpires, describing it as the biggest challenge. Criticism towards umpires in Bangladesh has been a longstanding issue, and Sharfuddoula emphasized the importance of fair treatment and recognition for umpires to positively impact Bangladesh cricket.
Beyond his personal achievement, Sharfuddoula sees his role in the ICC World Cup as an opportunity to pave the way for more Bangladeshi umpires on the world stage. Despite Bangladesh achieving Test status in 2000, the country has yet to have any umpires on the elite panel of the International Cricket Council. Sharfuddoula expressed hope that his accomplishment would inspire a new generation of cricket officials in Bangladesh, stating that the country now has a talented group of international umpires.
As Sharfuddoula prepares to make history in one of cricket’s most prestigious tournaments, he remains humble and proud to represent his country. He envisions his achievement as the first of many for Bangladeshi umpires, inspiring a new generation to pursue careers in cricket officiating.