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Old October 23, 2008, 02:43 PM
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I know it is little out of place but I beleive there is room for humor every where. This article featured in New Age.

Fun-loving umpire celebrates
birthday in style

Azad Majumder
Celebrating a birthday away from the home and family members is not very uncommon with the ICC’s elite panel of umpires and often they do it in quite humble manner without any buzz.
But that was not the case for Daryl Harper, one of the two umpires conducting the Bangladesh-New Zealand series, who turned 58 on Thursday and celebrated it amid pomp and grandeur.
Emirates Airline – an official partner of the ICC, which sponsors the elite panel of umpires and match referees, gave Harper a pleasant surprise when it hosted a party to celebrate his birthday at a city hotel on Thursday.
The party was also attended by Asoka de Silva, the other elite panel umpire involved in Bangladesh-New Zealand series. Neither Harper nor Asoka had any previous idea what was waiting for them inside the partly hall.
‘Frankly speaking, I can’t really remember when I last had my birthday party at home. Probably once in the last eight years,’ said Harper to the awaiting guest. ‘I am really surprised today, it was beyond my expectation.’
His joy was transmitted to Askoa and the duo had come out of their usual shell to give the attending guests an idea of their passion and love for the game and profession while talking in an informal session.
Harper happily explained to everyone about his strange business card that carried picture of a dog chasing him in the cricket field. Funnily enough, the business card begins with a slogan – every dog has his own day.
‘It was probably in 2003 when the dog attacked me during a Test match between Sri Lanka and England at Kandy. The picture was published in Sri Lankan newspaper next day, I got a lot of fun out of it,’ said Harper.
‘I didn’t have any business card until two years ago and decided to have one for myself only after seeing its frequent uses in the sub-continent. Everyone here offers me his card and in return wants one from me,’ he said.
‘Everybody has his best moment in career and the picture is a true example of it and that’s why I used it in my business card,’ said Harper, who was also full of fun when he described his relation with the players.
His relationship with Indian cricketer Irfan Pathan could best describe the Australian umpire’s sense of humour. ‘Every time I meet him, I ask “are you still single?” And he replies, ‘Is your daughter still single?’
‘This year I was officiating a one-day match between India and Australia in Commonwealth Bank series in Sydney. It happened to be my 150th ODI and my family were present at the stand.’
‘During the game I went to Irfan and said, “Look at the stand and see my girl waving her hand to you.” Irfan also waved his hand and they both had an eye-to-eye contact. They never got married, but the moment gave me a lot of pleasure.’
Harper looked jovial when he described how he met Bangladeshi umpire Enamul Haque. ‘Enamul met me and asked how he can be a
good umpire when I came here in 2000 to train the local umpires. Eight years on I found him as my colleague in the third one-day match between Bangladesh and New Zealand, which was so pleasing,’ said Harper.
The umpire, who will be standing in his 75th Test match in Dhaka from Saturday, also had a logical view over sledging which has now become an integral part of international cricket.
‘I can’t imagine a Test match with the opposing players not talking to each other. If it really happens, the match will be boring really. So we don’t stop them and interfere only if it gets overboard,’ said Harper.
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