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15 Jan 2008 11:41
Embattled cricket umpire Steve Bucknor expressed disappointment on Monday in being sent home from the Test series between India and Australia.
Bucknor said he was “disappointed that I am not continuing the tour between Australia and India, in Australia. But I respect the International Cricket Council’s [ICC] authority in the matter.”
“To err is human, to forgive divine, as the old saying goes.
“However, I consider it a sad day to see umpires sidelined after making only two wrong decisions out of a record of 35 appeals.”
Bucknor, a West Indian umpire, was dumped by the ICC after Indian complaints over his performance in last week’s Sydney Test match, won by Australia.
Several wrong decisions by Bucknor swung the odds against the Indians.
Bucknor—the most experienced Test umpire on the elite panel—made a quiet return home to Jamaica over the weekend, managing to elude the glare of the local press and a group that had planned to meet him at the airport to show their support for him.
The 61-year-old Bucknor, a former Fifa referee, whose contract runs out in March, has had a glittering cricket career where he set several records, including standing in 120 Tests and five straight Cricket World Cup finals, including the most recent hosted by the West Indies.
Bucknor was replaced by New Zealand’s Billy Bowden for the third Test, which starts Wednesday.
Bucknor’s removal was announced by ICC chief executive Malcolm Speed, who also acknowledged that some people would be unhappy given India had requested Bucknor be stood down.
“I can understand that people will take that view,” he said.
“It is an extraordinary set of circumstances and we want to take some of the tension out of the situation.”
He was confident Bucknor would umpire again at Test level.
Published reports estimated that as many as eight of 11 questionable decisions made by Bucknor and fellow umpire Mark Benson went against India.
In India fans were so angry at the second Test result that they torched effigies of Bucknor and Englishman Benson and a picture of Australia captain Ricky Ponting.
The dismissal of India’s Rahul Dravid on day five, and Andrew Symonds’s admission he was out on 30 before scoring 162 not out in the first innings, particularly embarrassed Bucknor.
The string of incorrect decisions during the match prompted calls from some commentators for administrators to make better use of technology in aiding umpires in their verdicts.—Sapa-AFP
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