Bucknor blames technology for Ump'err'ings

Published: Friday, April 9, 2004, 23:10 [IST]
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Lahore:He has been Indian cricket team's bugbear for quite some time now, but Steve Bucknor says that he is "pretty happy" with his performance.

The 57-year-old West Indian member of the so-called panel of Elite Umpires appears to be chasing the Indians wherever they go -- South Africa, Australia and now Pakistan where he contributed to India's misery in the second Test.

Bucknor turned down an appeal against Pakistan's top batsman and captain Inzamam-ul Haq in the first innings at Lahore when Irfan Pathan's inswinger had hit the batsman in line.

Inzamam was then on 65 and went on to make 118.

In the same innings he ruled Umar Gul not out after he had left alone a ball from Anil Kumble that was hitting the middle stumps. In the Indian innings, Bucknor's lbw decision against Aakash Chopra was debatable.

These latest decisions against India come on top of his blunder in South Africa in 1992-93, the year when the third umpire was introduced, and his stunning verdict against Sachin Tendulkar in the recent series against Australia when he judged him lbw to a ball clearly missing the off-stump.

Bucknor had ruled Jonty Rhodes not out despite the batsman being a yard short of his crease. This verdict by Bucknor, who had refused to consult the third umpire, proved crucial in the final outcome of the match which ended in a draw.

Bucknor admitted on Friday that umpiring had become difficult with increasing television coverage.

"With extensive television coverage umpiring has become very difficult from the time when I started my career.

"But I am pretty happy with my performance and everyone makes mistakes, including myself," said Bucknor.

"I give myself enough time to think about my decision, to replay just about everything about that delivery, and by so doing I should in the end be able to make that decision."

There appears to be no respite in sight for the Indians, who officially complained against Bucknor's umpiring in the last Australia series, because the umpire said he intended to officiate in 100 Test matches before retiring in 2007.

"I have set a target of 2007 for myself and with the speed of Test matches I am doing I hope to complete the century before retiring," he said.

"I have to work hard to keep myself fit and to meet the demands of umpiring in the high profile game of cricket and it would be a great honour to complete a century of Tests as umpire," said the Jamaican who took his tally to 89 Tests when he stood in the Lahore Test which India lost by nine wickets on Thursday.

Bucknor started his career as an umpire in the Jamaica Test between India and the West Indies in the 1988-1989 season and he has also officiated in 118 One-day Internationals including four World Cup finals.

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