New Zealand v Australia, 1st ODI, Wellington February 21, 2005

Bowden denies any friction with Vettori

Cricinfo staff

Billy Bowden: don't mess with him © Getty Images
Billy Bowden, the New Zealand umpire, has defended his mistakes in the first one-day international between Australia and New Zealand in Wellington. Bowden had a few verbal exchanges with Daniel Vettori, but has clarified that relations between the two of them are normal.

Bowden appeared to have made two mistakes in the thrilling 10-run win for Australia, one of which was declining a loud leg-before appeal by Vettori against Matthew Hayden. Bowden got it wrong the second time as well, when Hayden gloved a leg-side delivery from Kyle Mills on 31. Hayden went on to score 71.

"I'll have a look at the highlights, my sister tapes them for me, but whenever I umpire I do so to the best of my ability," said Bowden to The Dominion Post. "As a batsman or an umpire a ball always has your number on it and if I made a mistake, so be it."

Bowden and Vettori were engaged in a vociferous debate when Bowden turned down an appeal against Hayden. Stephen Fleming, New Zealand's captain, had to intervene to put an end to the issue. Bowden was concerned with Vettori's behaviour, who snatched his cap in disgust, and Vettori in turn felt that he could have been shown the respect due to someone playing his 147th match.

"After 10 overs players get frustrated with the way they have bowled or the way decisions went," Bowden said. "I talked to Stephen and we got on with the game. I haven't got a problem with Dan, I've umpired him a long time and I think we have mutual respect.

"There won't be a problem in Christchurch, in fact I hope he bowls at my end. I would be disappointed in myself if I couldn't be professional and look any player in the eye the next day. The cap thing wasn't a big issue. I've had guys almost rip my elbow off, Dan's was just a little tickle."

Bowden, who also umpired in the recently concluded Pakistan series, had faced criticisms from Bob Woolmer, the Pakistan coach, who claimed that the decisions went 29-5 against Pakistan, and that the umpires were biased towards the dominating Australia. Ken Rutherford, the former New Zealand captain, and Martin Crowe also criticized the umpires in their newspaper columns. Rutherford claimed that Bowden had become too familiar with the Australians, while Crowe felt the umpire was suffering from fatigue.

"I don't appoint myself to umpiring Australia, that is the ICC," Bowden said. "It can be a heads and tails thing. If you are umpiring a team you know it can help because you learn how certain players bat and how they bowl," said Bowden defending his stance. "Before any game you do your stats and you often know how many times a certain players has been out lbw or caught behind recently. The more you do of one side the more you learn about their strengths and weaknesses. Having said all that, whenever you walk out into the middle you are always operating in the `now'."