Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Former Test umpire Shepherd dies

Former Test umpire David Shepherd has died after a long battle with cancer, his former club Gloucestershire have confirmed.

Shepherd was a batsman for the county for 14 years but came to prominence as a leading umpire, standing in 92 Tests around the world.

He was perhaps most famous for his one-legged jigs when the score reached 111, 222 or 333, known as a 'Nelson'.

He retired in 2005 but was struck by cancer soon after and has died aged 68.
Gloucestershire chairman John Light paid tribute to Shepherd.

"As an umpire he has always been a familiar and much-loved face, not only here but at cricket grounds around the world," Light told Sky Sports News.

"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."

Light added: "He was tremendously superstitious. When the score was 111, 222 or 333, David would be hopping about on one leg and everybody in the dressing room had to do the same. We all do it in the committee room. When we do it, we say 'Shep would have us dancing'. We do it, and we'll go on doing it."

A tearful Dickie Bird, who regularly stood opposite Shepherd in Tests and one-day internationals, said: "I'm very sad and shocked it's happened.

"He was a fine umpire. We umpired together all over the world. He was a character, a great man, and a tremendous bloke.

"I've lost a friend. A great friend."

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