Pakistani umpire Ahsan Raza shared his feelings after he was promoted to the ICC Elite Panel of Umpires on Thursday.
Ahsan, who has officiated in 72 T20Is, along with seven Tests and 41 ODIs, replaced senior umpire Aleem Dar in the panel after the latter stepped down from his position.
In a video interview released by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) after the appointment, Ahsan said he never gave up in his entire umpiring career.
"I left cricket back in 2003 and started umpiring. I failed PCB exam on the first attempt but I never gave up. I think when you are determined to do something, then you succeed in it," he said.
"I kept on umpiring at grassroots. It helped me achieve my goal and Alhumdulillah today I have achieved my goal," he added.
Ahsan said that Aleem was his inspiration as they both also played cricket together. "Aleem Bhai has always been my inspiration. We played cricket in the same club and I was too young when he started umpiring. He gave me confidence and I looked up to him always," he mentioned.
The umpire thanked PCB, ICC, and everyone who supported him during his journey. "Today is a very big day for me. So, I would like to mention PCB, ICC, and everyone who supported me. Without them, this wasn't possible at all," he concluded.
PCB management committee chairman Najam Sethi also congratulated Ahsan on his achievement.
He said: "It is a moment of great pride and joy for the whole nation that Ahsan Raza has become the third Pakistan umpire to be appointed to the ICC Elite Panel of Umpires. I want to congratulate Ahsan on this wonderful achievement and I am sure he will continue to work hard with dedication and passion to enhance the image and profile of this noble profession.
“Ahsan is a great inspiration for many young and upcoming umpires and his elevation demonstrates we have talented umpires in Pakistan who are skilled enough to break into the top category. I hope we, at the PCB, will continue to utilise his expertise, knowledge and experience in our domestic and international matches.
“I also want to congratulate Aleem Dar on his successful career as an elite panelist. He was the first Pakistani to become a member of the ICC Elite Panel of Umpires way back in 2004 and since then, he has established himself as one of the most respected and highly-qualified umpires in the business.
“Throughout his outstanding career, he earned worldwide appreciation and accolades through his work ethics, undivided commitment to the game, good decision-making and excellent man management skills. He will remain as one of the best and finest to have ever served on the elite panel.
“Aleem has been a role model for umpires across generations. The PCB will be very fortunate to make the most of his presence and availability by integrating him in our system so that he can groom, mentor and tutor young umpires which, in turn, will help in significant improvement in the quality of umpiring in our domestic cricket and also produce umpires who can go on to represent Pakistan in the international and elite panels.”