Simon Taufel is an Australian cricket umpire. He was part of the top ICC umpire panel. He won five ICC Umpire of the Year awards in a row from 2004 to 2008. At that time, he was seen as the best umpire globally.
Simon James Arthur Taufel was born on Thursday, 21 January 1971 (age 52 years; as of 2023) in St Leonards, New South Wales, Australia. His zodiac sign is Aquarius. He really enjoyed playing cricket and felt sad when it rained and he couldn’t play. In an interview, he mentioned he wasn’t the greatest player, but he always tried his hardest and put in a lot of work to keep getting better. In June 1990, Taufel was planning to attend the university and hadn’t thought about becoming an umpire until a friend persuaded him to take an umpire course with him. Even then, he only saw it as a way to earn extra money. Interestingly, his friend Dave didn’t get the required 85% score to pass the test, while Taufel did well and passed easily.
Height (approx.): 5′ 11″
Hair Colour: Salt and Pepper
Eye Colour: Black
Parents & Siblings
Simon’s father’s name is James Arthur Taufel.
Wife & Children
Simon is married to Helen Taufel.
He has two sons, Harry and Jack, and a daughter, Sophie.
He led his school’s top cricket team and later played for New South Wales Schoolboys Under-19s with Adam Gilchrist and Michael Slater. Before he became an umpire, he played cricket for North Sydney and Mosman clubs. When he was 20 years old, he started umpiring fifth-grade matches. After the 1990-1991 season, he got the club’s top award for being the best and most fair player. He also took the most wickets and had the lowest bowling average in the association that season. He had to quit cricket because of a back injury.
When he was an operations manager at a printing company, he sometimes umpired in international matches. In 2003, he got chosen to be on the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) top Umpires Panel. He and New Zealand’s Billy Bowden were thought of as the upcoming umpires of that time. When he was 24 years old, in 1995, he started his career as a first-class umpire. At the age of 27, he became an umpire for One Day Internationals (ODIs). He umpired the first ODI on 13 January 1999 which was Australia vs Sri Lanka at Sydney. In the match, his old teammate Adam Gilchrist scored a hundred. In December 2000, he umpired his first Test match during the Boxing Day Test between Australia and West Indies in Melbourne. Surprisingly, he was younger than 12 of the players from both teams at that time. In 2002, he became a member of the Emirates International Panel of ICC Umpires. He was chosen as an umpire for the 2003 Cricket World Cup. Taufel has won the Umpire of the Year award five times and was ranked second for accuracy in the ICC’s yearly umpire evaluation in August 2006. He was the umpire in the final of the 2004 Champions Trophy. In the 2006 Champions Trophy, he umpired a semi-final game, but he didn’t get to umpire the final because Australia was playing in it. In January 2007, he became the youngest umpire to be part of 100 One-Day Internationals (ODIs). In April 2007, he was chosen to umpire the World Cup semi-final match between New Zealand and Sri Lanka. But, he couldn’t umpire the final because it had the Australian team playing in it. On 12 September 2007, he made his debut as an umpire in T20 in a match between Kenya vs New Zealand at Durban. He got to umpire alongside Aleem Dar in the final of the 2011 Cricket World Cup, which was between Sri Lanka and India. This chance opened up because Australia was knocked out by India in the quarter-finals, so he could umpire in the later parts of the tournament. On 26 September 2012, he declared that he was retiring from international cricket after his final match in the 2012 ICC World Twenty20 final held in Sri Lanka. From 2000 to 2012, he was the umpire for 74 test matches. Between 1999 and 2012, he officiated 174 ODI matches. He also umpired 34 T20I matches from 2007 to 2012.
In 2010, he joined the Marylebone Cricket Club Laws sub-committee. He helped the MCC (those in charge of cricket rules) by reviewing and improving the Laws of Cricket. Between 2013 and 2021, he held the role of deputy chairperson at the Southern Highlands PCYC. He worked with a team that focused on helping local youth and promoting good health and well-being in the community. He chose to leave the top cricket umpiring panel to take on a new position as the ICC’s Umpire Performance and Training Manager. He held this role until 2015. Until October 2015, he continued to work as the ICC’s Umpire Performance and Training Manager, and then he stepped down from that position as well. In 2016, he took on the roles of match referee and umpire selection manager at Cricket Australia. In 2017, he joined the board and became the chairperson of the Highlands District Cricket Association. He led a team that aimed to help local clubs, players, umpires, and volunteers. They oversaw more than 400 registered players and provided representatives to Greater Illawarra, NSW, and Australia. In 2018, he became a partner with Integrity Values Leadership. In 2019, he authored a book called ‘Finding The Gaps,’ which is a blend of his personal experiences and advice for self-improvement.
In 2019, he joined the Industry Advisory Group at Sport Australia. In 2019, he became the Thinkfluencer at Tigerhall in Singapore, Australia and India. In 2020, he became a commentator and expert analyst at Seven Network, Australia. In 2022, he was appointed as the director of Match Ethics and regulations by Legends League Cricket. In 2022, he introduced an online accreditation course to address the gaps in training, development, and standards for umpires. The course included three tiers of accreditation: beginner, Level 1, and Level 2. In 2022, he took on the role of ambassador for the Primary Club. He worked to raise funds for underprivileged children and community organizations. In 2023, he took on the role of patron for the NSW Cricket Umpires Association. He was known for promoting cricket officiating and providing guidance and mentoring for the board and members. Between 2008 and 2019, he served as a Patron for Bowral Cricket Club. During this time, he handled fundraising, ensured compliance, and connected with other parties to support the club’s nonprofit goals. Between 2004 and 2018, he worked as a training specialist for various companies including Emirates, Birla Institute, Brandix, BCCI, Ceylinco Life, and Metso Minerals.
Awards, Honours, Achievements
- 2004-2008: ICC Umpire of the Year award
- ICC’s Bronze Bails Award
- He used to play domestic cricket for Cammeray Cricket Club in the Northern Suburbs Cricket Association. Simon was a medium-fast bowler.
- On 3 March 2009, Taufel was one of the officials present when terrorists attacked the Sri Lanka cricket team in Lahore, Pakistan. This incident shocked the cricket community and resulted in an end to international tours in Pakistan. In an interview, he mentioned that the attack had a lasting effect on him for his whole life. In the interview, he added,
It (the incident) did change me personally and did change cricket. I think my family is happy seeing me sitting here. It was a difficult telephone call which I had with my wife that day.”
- He received the ICC Umpire of the Year award for five years in a row (2004–2008). However, his winning streak ended in October 2009 when Aleem Dar from Pakistan won the ICC Umpire of the Year award.
- Taufel became the youngest person to receive the ICC’s Bronze Bails Award. He got this award for umpiring in 100 ODIs.
- He was the only umpire ever asked to deliver the MCC Spirit of Cricket Cowdrey Lecture.
- In an interview, he mentioned that when he began his career, he used to lean forward and lower his gaze while the bowler was bowling, similar to how umpires used to do it in the past. However, as he became more confident, he stopped doing this, but he still maintained his strong focus and attention on the game.
- In an interview, he noted that people often recall umpires for the 5% of wrong decisions they make, rather than the 95% of correct ones they make.
- In 2020, he became a part of the Channel Seven commentary team as an expert commentator for the 2020/21 test series.
- In 2023, he was selected to lead the match officials’ team at the first ILT20 tournament, which was scheduled to take place across three venues in the UAE: Abu Dhabi’s Zayed Cricket Stadium, Dubai International Stadium, and Sharjah Cricket Stadium. The tournament was planned to be held from January 13 to 12 February 2023.
- In 2023, he was included as one of the 11 match officials for the first-ever professional franchise cricket league in the United States, which was announced by Major League Cricket (MLC).
- In an interview, he discussed the possibility of technology replacing umpiring and said,
People think that the way to solve the odd grey area is to replace it with technology. I continue to see the skill and judgement of an umpire taken away from them with technology. Umpires progress like a player through the pathway because you are good at what you do and you make the fewest amounts of mistakes. I’m really conscious about trying to turn the art of officiating into a science and seek perfection, whatever that looks like, with decision-making.”
- In an interview, he remembered how Virender Sehwag would stand beside him at square leg during India’s matches and make his own “out” and “not out” calls. He mentioned that he suggested Sehwag consider becoming an umpire, but Sehwag declined the offer.
- In the 2022 T20 World Cup match between India and Pakistan, Virat Kohli and Dinesh Karthik scored three runs. However, Pakistan’s captain Babar Azam and his team questioned whether it should have been considered a dead ball. The umpires didn’t declare it a dead ball, but the discussion about the dead ball situation became a topic of conversation after the match. In a Twitter post, Simon talked about this controversy and said,
After the exciting climax to the India v Pakistan match at the MCG last night, I’ve been asked by many to explain the Byes that India scored after Kohli was bowled off the free hit. The umpire made the right decision in signalling Byes after the batters ran three following the ball hitting the stumps and rolling down to 3rd man. For a free hit, the striker cannot be out bowled and therefore, the ball is NOT dead on hitting the stumps – the ball is still in play, and all conditions under the Laws for Byes are satisfied.”
- In an interview, he shared that he kept a diary where he noted when he woke up and went to bed, and he also recorded his meals. In the mornings, he checked his heart rate and rated his happiness from 1 to 10. He would then analyze these details alongside his successful umpiring days to find any patterns or insights.