Billy Bowden reaches milestone in Hamilton

Published: Wednesday, January 10, 2007, 23:53 [IST]
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Dubai:The inimitable Billy Bowden became the youngest umpire to officiate in 100 ODIs even though yesterday's match between New Zealand and Sri Lanka was washed out in Hamilton.

Even though a ball was not bowled in the match, the encounter will enter the record books as the toss took place before the heavens opened and that means it counts as umpire Billy Bowdens 100th match in this form of the game, according to an ICC release here.

The 43 year-old with a style all his own, including the-now famous crooked finger send-off for batsmen, is only the eighth official to reach the mark and the second from New Zealand, following on from Steve Dunne who also stood in 100 ODIs.

Reflecting on his achievement Bowden, a member of the Emirates Elite Panel of ICC Umpires, said, ''I am really delighted to have reached this milestone although it is certainly not something I would normally think about.

''All I ever want is to ensure I do my best, it is not about records. Whatever the occasion, my priority is to make sure I have a good game and make the right decisions. That is always the most important thing,'' he said.

''Having said that, it is a special day and it is great to be a member of the 100 club. It is a huge honor and when I look at the calibre of the other umpires to have reached the milestone, it makes me proud,'' Bowden added.

For Bowden, the mark is the latest stop on an umpiring journey that began more than 20 years ago.

''Shortly after I stopped playing in 1986 due to my arthritis, I realised I wanted to give something back to the game and the way I chose to do that was to umpire. Since then there have been more and more opportunities for umpires to travel thanks to the introduction of neutral umpires and I have certainly benefited from that.

''It has been an amazing privilege to be given the chance to travel the world doing something that I love and I feel proud to be a Kiwi and proud to represent the ICC,'' he added.

Bowden has become the youngest official to stand in 100 ODIs but it is a record he is set to hold for only a few days as 35 year-old Simon Taufel is currently one short of his century and should get there during the forthcoming tri-series in Australia.

It has taken Bowden 12 years at the top level to stand in 100 ODIs but one curious fact is that his first and 100th matches not only involved the same two sides but were also at the same venue, Seddon Park in Hamilton.

In those 12 years the two sides have, not surprisingly, changed a great deal so that only five players are common to both fixtures -- Stephen Fleming and Nathan Astle of New Zealand and the Sri Lanka trio of Sanath Jayasuriya, Muttiah Muralitharan and Chaminda Vaas.

Bad weather affected that 1995 match as well but on that occasion a positive result was possible, with New Zealand winning by 57 runs after Sri Lanka were set a revised target. Man of the match Astle led the way for the home side with 95 at the top of the order.

Bowden will receive a crystal plaque to mark his achievement, but he still has some way to go to top the list of ODI appearances.

That honor goes to the now-retired David Shepherd who stood in 172 matches between 1983 and 2005, including three successive ICC Cricket World Cup finals.

Most ODIs appearances by umpires: David Shepherd 172 Rudi Koertzen 158 Steve Bucknor 151 Daryl Harper 127 Darrell Hair 124 David Orchard 107 Steve Dunne 100 Billy Bowden 100 Simon Taufel 99


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