LAHORE - Umpires Asif Yaqoob and Rashid Riaz are delighted at their imminent debuts in the one-day international series against Australia under Pakistan Cricket Board’s efforts to enhance the profiles of its match officials through a process to increase their reserves, said a PCB statement issued on Tuesday.

Asif Yaqoob, who will stand in the third one-day international in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday, admitted he has gradually come this far and wanted to make a reputation for himself. “I am delighted to see my name as an on-field umpire for the first time in my career,” said the 45-year-old. “It is reward of hard work, ability to keep myself abreast with the development of the game and knowledge about the laws of the game.” Asif, who started his career in 2003, became one of four ICC international panel umpires from Pakistan in 2018.  “I know basic requirements for an umpire are his passion for the game, his temperament, knowledge of the game and decision-making, so I keep myself strong in these areas,” said Asif.

The unassuming Yaqoob owed his progress to former Sri Lanka umpire Peter Manuel, Pakistan’s own Aleem Dar and Ahsan Raza. “This is my chance to emulate the great in the field of umpiring and when I will stand in the ODI, my primary goal will be to make a name for myself and earn respect for my country in the field of umpiring,” said Asif whose T20I debut was also against Australia in Dubai last year.

Rashid Riaz, 43, has an added advantage of playing first-class cricket for National Bank. Rashid believes it will be a dream come true when he becomes one of the two on-field umpires in the fourth ODI.

“When I retired from first-class cricket, it was my aim to make a name for myself in umpiring and so I have worked hard to reach this far,” said Rashid. “It will be a dream come true for me, for which I thank the PCB and all the people who have helped me in my career.”

For Rashid, Aleem is a role model. “Aleem Dar is my role model as he is well-respected throughout the world,” said Rashid.