Cricket mourns the death of David Shepherd

LONDON, England -- International Cricket Council President David Morgan has expressed his sadness at the death of one of the great umpires of all time, David Shepherd, who has passed away at the age of 68.

“David was a true gentleman of the game,” said Mr Morgan upon hearing the news. “He was a fine player and a match official of the very highest quality. He will be remembered fondly by players, spectators and administrators who saw him as a great entertainer but also as one of the best umpires the game has ever seen,” he said.

“The example he set as someone who took the art of umpiring very seriously while also enjoying what he did immensely will leave a lasting legacy for the game. He was an engaging character which meant players and other umpires were always delighted to be around him. We have lost someone whose positive influence on our great sport has been immense.”

Born in Devon, England, Shepherd played first-class cricket for Gloucestershire, scoring 12 centuries and 55 half-centuries in his 15-year career.But it will probably be as an umpire that he will be longest remembered. In a magnificent career as a match official, he stood in 92 Test matches and 172 ODIs including three Cricket World Cup finals. He was a vital part of the Emirates Elite Panel of ICC Umpires from the time it was formed until his retirement in 2005.

He endeared himself with spectators and television viewers all over the world with his various idiosyncrasies, most famously his superstition of hopping whenever the score reached Nelson or its multiple (111, 222, 333 and so on). The current international umpires have issued a moving collective tribute to a former colleague who was universally respected within their number.

“Shep was one of the truly great cricket umpires that we have seen but more importantly he was one of the true gentlemen of the game of cricket. The international umpires will fondly remember his smiling face, his warm personality and his ever helpful demeanour,” says the statement. “Shep helped so many umpires in so many ways and contributed to numerous umpiring careers – many are indebted to him. Every time we see Nelson on the scoreboard, we will be thinking of Shep’s little jig and saying a quiet ‘thank you’ for having him as one of us. As Shep would always say to every umpire he worked with on the way out to the middle, we now say to him: ‘Good luck mate, and may your God go with you.’ Shep may have left us but his legacy of excellent people-management and top-class umpiring will remain with us forever.”