x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Cricket mourns veteran umpire Farid Malik

An international cricket umpire and veteran resident of the UAE died yesterday morning from a heart attack.

DUBAI // An international cricket umpire and veteran resident of the UAE died yesterday morning from a heart attack. Farid Malik collapsed at the Pakistan Consulate while he was in the process of finishing documentation for his family. He was declared dead on arrival at the hospital. The veteran expatriate from Lahore, who was in his 60s, had lived in the UAE for more than 30 years and was a senior umpire of the Sharjah Cricket Council (SCC).

At the peak of his career, he stood as umpire at the 1996 World Cup which was hosted jointly by India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Mr Malik's long career as a cricket umpire began soon after he moved to the UAE. The cricket community mourned the loss of Mr Malik, who was due to conduct an umpiring course in Sharjah next week. Mazhar Khan, of the SCC, said Mr Malik was a "true gentleman and so popular in UAE cricket fraternity."

"He had a passion for cricket that cannot be explained in words," said Shahzad Altaf, a former player and coach of the UAE national team, who had known Mr Malik for more than 30 years. "He had dedicated his life to the game and continued to do so. He was easily the best umpire in the UAE and stood at several international matches played at the Sharjah cricket stadium." Mohammed Tauqir, the vice-captain of the UAE and Mr Malik's son-in-law, said: "I have known him for 15 years and he was a father figure to me. Whenever I was low he used to encourage me and pulled me up.

"I had joked with him several times telling him to give up cricket as he was very old. But he was so passionate about cricket that he could not do without being part of the game." Mr Malik was believed to have be in good health and never complained of any problems, according to a colleague. "Everyone felt he had the perfect personality for an umpire as he was fit and always composed. We are really shocked by his sudden death," said Israr Ahmed, former umpire and colleague of Mr Malik.

Mr Malik is survived by a wife, three sons and a daughter. pmenon@thenational.ae