Asad Rauf, the former umpire under ICC Elite Panel, has passed away aged 66 after suffering a massive cardiac arrest at his home in Lahore. Rauf is among the finest umpires from the subcontinent, having officiated in 64 Tests, and over 150 white ballgames.
“Saddened to hear about the passing of Asad Rauf. Not only was he a good umpire but also had a wicked sense of humour. He always put a smile on my face and will continue to do so whenever I think about him. Many sympathies with his family for their loss,” Pakistan Cricket Board chief Ramiz Raja said on Twitter.
Rauf’s umpiring career effectively ended after his name cropped up in the IPL spot-fixing scandal that rocked Indian cricket in 2013. Rauf was accused of accepting expensive gifts from bookies. He denied the allegations, but he was banned by the BCCI for a period of five years.
When Rauf was asked about this incident back home, he replied, “Taking gifts isn’t a crime, it is part of Asian culture, giving and taking gifts is a tradition.”
Virender Sehwag, the former Indian cricketer, once narrated an incident about Rauf’s affinity for expensive things. In return for the branded shoes, glasses, and T-shirts from Sehwag, Rauf accepted to give a decision in his favour during the Mohali Test.
“Asad Rauf was very fond of collecting things,” said Sehwag in “What The Duck” show. “He loved wearing branded glasses, t-shirts, and shoes among other things. I was the brand ambassador of Adidas at the time, so I gifted him shoes, t-shirts, and glasses and I jokingly told him not to raise his finger while I am batting.”
Sehwag added that Rauf didn’t raise his finger despite the fact that there was a clear and audible edge. “Mitchell Johnson bowled a short-pitch delivery and I attempted a cut shot but ended up edging it. So thick was the edge that it was heard even inside the dressing room but Rauf gave me not out,” he added.
Rauf, however, refuted the claim when he was once prodded about the same. “Uski kya majaal wo ek ICC elite umpire se kuch kahe. (Sehwag has no power to ask an ICC elite panel umpire to ask for a favour). I was never accused of such behaviour in my career before,” he said.