David Shepherd has confirmed that he will retire from the Emirates Elite Panel of ICC Umpires in July this year, bringing to an end an illustrious 40-year career as a player and international umpire.
Shepherd's final international match will be the One-Day International between England and Australia at the Brit Oval on 12 July 2005. He will retire with a world record of ODI matches and 92 Test matches in the middle.
As well as a reputation for fairness and impartiality, Shepherd's pragmatic approach and warm personality have, for over two decades, earned him respect from top international players and popularity with cricket fans around the world.
Shepherd, whose final Test match will be the second Test between West Indies and Pakistan in Jamaica next month, said that he is looking forward to preparing in his usual manner for his final matches in the middle before hanging up his international umpiring coat.
"Cricket has been my life for forty years as a player and then umpire," said Shepherd, who played first-class cricket for Gloucestershire.
"I have enjoyed a wonderful career and it has been a very difficult decision to leave a job that I love. I seriously believe, however, that it is better to go at five to nine rather than five past."
ICC Chief Executive Malcolm Speed said that Shepherd is bowing out at the top of his profession.
"David Shepherd has consistently been one of our sport's top officials for over two decades," said Speed.
"His astute decision-making and cheerful manner earned him the respect of players throughout the cricket world and he will deservedly be remembered as one of our sport's greatest ever umpires."
Shepherd's habit of hopping from one foot to another when the score rests on 111 brought the English cricket superstition of the 'Nelson' to a wider international audience. It is fitting that his retirement comes 200 years after the Battle of Trafalgar; Lord Admiral Nelson's most famous, and final, military campaign.
Shepherd holds the world record for One-Day International matches and has stood in the last three ICC Cricket World Cup finals in India, England and South Africa.
David Shepherd MBE factfile:
Born: 27 December 1940, Bideford, Devon
Major Team: Gloucestershire.
First class playing career:
1965 - 1979 (282 matches, 10672 runs)
International umpiring career:
First Test: England v Australia at Manchester, 4th Test, 1985
First ODI: Pakistan v Sri Lanka at Swansea, World Cup, 1983
World record holder for One-Day International matches as umpire.