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Page last updated at 11:31 GMT, Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Former Test umpire Shepherd dies

David Shepherd
Shepherd officiated in 92 Tests and 172 one-day internationals

Former umpire David Shepherd has died after a battle with cancer, aged 68.

Shepherd, who was born in Devon, officiated in 92 Tests and 172 one-day internationals, including three World Cup finals before retiring in 2005.

He was famous for his aversion to the 'Nelson' - scores with a multiple of 111 - which made him hop at the crease nervously between deliveries.

Only West Indies' Steve Bucknor (128) and South Africa's Rudi Koertzen (101) have stood in more Tests.

Shepherd had a productive career as a batsman for Gloucestershire, hitting 10,672 runs in a career lasting from 1965 to 1979.

He was appointed as a first-class umpire in 1981 and was swiftly elevated through the ranks, making his Test debut in an Ashes Test four years later.

After his final international match, a one-day game between England and Australia at the Oval, he received a standing ovation from the fans and players.

Former England captain Michael Vaughan told BBC Sport: "There was a huge amount of respect for him. He was a really good umpire, with a bit of character about him.

Shepherd was a real character - Vaughan

"Ultimately he was respected because he got a lot of decisions right. He was a nice man who used to say 'Well played or good shot.' You get a lot of umpires these days who feel they're not allowed to say that.

"He liked the odd beer, a pint of ale at the end of play. Again, you wouldn't see that happening too much these days. He will be greatly missed."

Dickie Bird, who umpired many matches alongside Shepherd, said: "He was a fine umpire, we spent many happy hours together. He was a great man and a tremendous man to umpire with. He was a good bloke and a great friend."

Gloucestershire chairman John Light said: "As an umpire he has always been a familiar and much-loved face, not only here but at cricket grounds around the world.

"He was friendly, outgoing and straightforward. He believed cricket was a simple game and he took a straightforward approach to it in his cricket and his umpiring. He always put a smile on your face."

ICC President David Morgan described Shepherd as a "true gentleman" of the game.

"He was a fine player and a match official of the very highest quality," he said.

"He will be remembered fondly by players, spectators and administrators as a great entertainer but also as one of the best umpires the game has ever seen."

Billy Athletic

The current international umpires also issued a collective tribute to their former colleague:

"He 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."

Worcestershire captain Vikram Solanki, the professional Cricketers' Association acting chief executive, said: "He was both authoritative and approachable on the field, while retaining a gentle sense of humour. I have no doubt that these qualities helped to make him such a successful umpire."

PCA vice-president David Graveney, a former team-mate of Shepherd's at Gloucestershire, said: "He was very protective and supportive of the younger players and showed us the ropes. The first thing I noticed was just how universally popular he was with players and crowds alike.

"His umpiring reflected just how he was as a person - looking to help without bias, explaining his decisions, and if he wasn't sure on something, he would say so.

"Whether he was umpiring a second XI fixture or a Test match, you knew that the atmosphere on the field would be as good as it possibly could be."

The MCC flag on the Grand Stand at Lord's was flying at half mast on Wednesday.

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see also
Many tributes as Shepherd retires
12 Jul 05 |  Cricket
Shepherd bows out of Test cricket
08 Jun 05 |  Cricket
Shepherd to bow out at the top
12 May 05 |  Cricket
Umpire Shepherd set to stand down
12 May 05 |  Cricket

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