Perth: New Zealand umpire Billy Bowden, who steps into the super-charged atmosphere of the third Test between Australia and India, is already no stranger to controversy.
Bowden, with the crooked finger and eccentric gestures, has previously been written off by the Australians as the world's worst umpire yet he has been tasked with keeping the volatile series on track.
His call-up for the Perth Test starting Wednesday to replace the heavily criticised Steve Bucknor came after poor decisions by the West Indian inflamed the volatile second Test.
Australia, already 2-0 up in the series, are now ratcheting up the pressure for the third Test with passionate talk of setting a world record 17 consecutive Test wins.
Despite the difficult situation, New Zealand Cricket umpires' manager Brian Aldridge says Bowden can take the pressure.
"If anyone can handle it Billy can," said Aldridge.
"It's a feather in his cap, the fact they (the ICC) have got confidence in him considering the climate they've got at the moment."
Bowden will stand in his 42nd test in Perth and already has a sense of the deep emotion between Australia and India after officiating in Australia's 377-run first Test victory.
There were no complaints about his performance then but two years ago a poll of Australian cricketers rated Bowden as the worst on the International Cricket Council elite panel.
For Brent Fraser "Billy" Bowden, umpiring, and its reported 120,000-dollar salary, came about after his promising playing career was cut short by rheumatoid arthritis in his early 20s.
When he arrived on the international scene in March 2000 it was evident a combination of his personality and the disease had produced an animated character at the crease.
While his flamboyant gestures left him the target of criticism for grand-standing, they are a by-product of the arthritis which affects his elbow, left wrist and fingers.
The deeply religious Bowden says his faith is of paramount importance as he officiates.
"God is my best friend. He's always been my third umpire. He's there behind me, beside me, in front of me," he told the New Zealand Herald, adding he believes God already knows what decisions he will make in his next series.
When Bowden was hit by arthritis and saw his dream of playing representative cricket had gone he realised "that sometimes God has other plans for us.
"It taught me that every day you're alive is a blessing. You have to take each day as it comes, because you never know when you're going to be called to heaven."
Bowden, though, is not beyond controversy as an umpire.
He angered the West Indies during their tour of Australia a year ago, when the tourists claimed they were the victims of dubious decisions, and he was also offside with Australia during the 2005 Ashes series in England.
Captain Ricky Ponting blamed Bowden for England squaring the series at Edgbaston when declining a leg before wicket appeal against tailender Simon Jones. England scored two more runs -- their eventual winning margin.
Bowden was also caught pocketing the match ball from that Test.
He explained that he wanted the ball as a souvenir because it was his first Ashes series, and an unthinking England wicketkeeper Geraint Jones -- also in his first Ashes series -- handed it to him.
When the England and Wales Cricket Board stepped in, the ball was returned.