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January 15, 2008
The umpire Steve Bucknor has returned home to Jamaica after being sacked from the fractious Test series between India and Australia. He said he was disappointed not to be continuing but that he respected the ICC nonetheless.
A dignified Bucknor took the moral high ground and told AFP: "I respect ICC's 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, 61, was dumped by the ICC after India complained over his performance in last week's last-gasp victory for Australia in the second Test in Sydney. Several wrong decisions by Bucknor swung the odds against the Indians. He has been replaced by Billy Bowden.
The most experienced Test umpire in the Elite Panel, Bucknor 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. To date he has stood in 120 Tests and five straight World Cup finals including the most recent in the Caribbean. His contract runs out in March.
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.
The dismissal of India's Rahul Dravid on day five, and Andrew Symonds' 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.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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