Johannesburg: A 15-year long journey will end on Monday when Allahudian Paleker enters the Imperial Wanderers field in Johannesburg to take charge of South Africa against India in the second test.
The Cape-born official turned 44 on Saturday and will mark his last birthday by becoming South Africa’s 57th test referee – and the 497th in the game’s history since 1877.
A former first-class cricketer, Paleker will line up against one of his mentors and inspirations, Marais Erasmus, at the Bullring where he will finally reach the top after years of sacrifice and hard work.
“It will certainly be a proud moment for me. You know that when you start officiating your dream and your goal is to reach the highest level and participate in a test match,” Allahudien Paleker said in a statement.
Allahudien Paleker to become South Africa’s 57th test referee when he makes his debut in the 2nd Betway Test _
“When you start officiating, your dream is to participate in a test match. ”
– Cricket South Africa (@OfficialCSA) January 2, 2022
“I started officiating 15 years ago so it’s been a long time coming. It took a lot of hard work, a lot of patience and you also need the strong support of the family because of the time you sacrifice. while away from home.
“I haven’t been to a family reunion or a summer wedding in years because I’m just never available. So there are a lot of sacrifices to be made and my wife Shakira has had to endure a lot. I must also thank her for the support and patience she has shown throughout my journey, she has really been a pillar of strength for me, “he added.
“And now, with the pandemic, things have gotten even more difficult. It sure hasn’t gotten easy and it will be a time for all of us to savor,” he added.
He is currently 70 years old and a referee in competitions such as the ACS Club Championships in the mid-1990s.
He also has an uncle who is still a referee, while two of his cousins are also developing referees.
“My dad was a great inspiration for me to get to the top and make his dream come true, which he couldn’t achieve,” said Paleker.
“He always wanted to be a first class referee but never got there for various reasons, so I followed in his footsteps to almost carry the baton,” he added.
Besides his father, two other men had a significant impact on his career as a referee.
“I really admire Aleem Dar, who I spent a week with in 2012 in New Zealand. We’ve been in contact since then and he’s a great inspiration to me. And then, nationally, we have our own Marshland. “He’s an elite referee and what he’s accomplished in the last few years is incredible. You want to reach his levels,” Paleker said.
Prior to becoming a referee, Paleker also enjoyed a playing career that spanned seven years. A former drummer, he played for the Western Province and a Titans team that included Faf du Plessis, AB de Villiers and Dale Steyn.