KARACHI - Pakistan's top umpire Aleem Dar has called on the country's cricket board to take a leaf out ofIndia's book and improve the pay scales for officials in the country. "You look at our neighbouring country, their umpires in domestic cricket get paid double of what Pakistani umpires are paid and don't forget our currency value is lesser than theirs," Dar said.

Asked about the concerns over the declining standard of umpiring in the country, Dar, who twice won the ICC Umpire of the Year award, said things would not improve unless more former players don't join the profession. "In other countries more former players are becoming umpires but we don't see this trend in Pakistan because the umpires are not well paid neither are they given required facilities and benefits by the board," he said.

Dar said he had advised the PCB to review the pay structure and facilities given to umpires. "I have told them they need to give central contracts to umpires, improve their fee structure and also provide them with other facilities," he said. "I recently told the Board that umpires must be given stay in the best hotels while on duty because if an umpire can't have a peace of mind and get proper sleep how can he function properly physically and mentally since umpiring is a taxing and thankless job," Dar said.

The Pakistani umpire also defended his fellow officials who have come under criticism for their poor decision-making during the ongoing domestic cricket tournaments. "I have been hearing a lot of criticism about the umpiring but I think players need to focus on their own job, umpires are human beings and can make errors. And in cricket players usually tend to have luck both ways so they shouldn't complain and blame the umpires," he said.

But Dar, at the same time, advised the Board to have proper fitness, eye and aptitude tests for umpires every six months. "Umpires need to be mentally very strong and have strong mental aptitude and good eye sight. These are the most requirements for a successful umpire."