Alex Wharf spent two seasons with Nottinghamshire, before winning one-day international honours as a player and later establishing himself as a top umpire.
Born in Bradford on 4 June 1975, Alexander George Wharf began his playing career with his native county. He made his First-Class debut for Yorkshire as a nineteen year old in August 1994 but further first eleven appearances were limited and Wharf signed for Nottinghamshire during the 1997 season. He was restricted to second eleven cricket in that first season but made a dramatic start, with 100 not out on his debut for the Seconds against Northamptonshire at Milton Keynes.
An all-rounder, Alex Wharf made his First-Class debut for Nottinghamshire at Derby at the beginning of the 1998 County Championship season. His appearances were limited in 1998, but he played in most of the matches in the following season and featured in a total of 21 First-Class and 23 List-A matches in two seasons at Trent Bridge. In First-Class cricket for Notts, his top score of 78 was recorded against Glamorgan at Colwyn Bay and his best analysis of 4-30 came against Essex in his final Championship outing in a Notts shirt. In List-A matches, his 255 runs and 16 wickets represented a fairly modest return given his subsequent performances in one-day cricket.
Wharf was released by Nottinghamshire in 1999 and joined Glamorgan. He made a significant impact in his 10 seasons there, starting in over 200 matches for the Welsh County. He was particularly successful in limited-overs cricket and his form saw him called into England’s One-Day International side for the series against India in 2004. Making his debut at Trent Bridge, he was named man of match after taking the wickets of three top Indian batsmen – Ganguly, Laxman and Dravid. He went on to play in 13 internationals, including the Final of the 2004 ICC Champions Trophy staged at The Oval in late September 2004.
A long-standing knee injury led to Alex Wharf’s retirement from playing at the end of 2009 but he soon began a second successful cricketing career as an umpire. He was added to the ECB’s list of reserve umpires in 2011 and joined the full list in 2014. He has since officiated in some big international and domestic games. He umpired the Women’s Ashes Test of 2015 and was also appointed to the corresponding fixture in 2019. In the County game, Wharf umpired at T20 finals day in four successive years from 2016 and in the Royal London One-Day Cup Final in 2017 – won, of course, by his old county.
Wharf was appointed to the International Panel of ICC umpires in 2018 and has since stood in One-Day and T20 International fixtures in both the men’s and women’s game, including the 2020 Women’s T20 World Cup in Australia. Alex Wharf’s umpiring career has developed quickly and he is one of a small group to have the honour of appearing in international cricket as both player and umpire.