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December 7, 2008
Billy Bowden, the New Zealand umpire, will replace Asad Rauf for the first Test between India and England scheduled to begin in Chennai on Thursday. The official announcement from the ICC comes after Rauf, one of the two Pakistani representatives on the Elite Panel of umpires, failed to obtain the correct visa to travel Chennai.
Pakistani and Indian nationals require city-specific visas to travel to either country and Rauf had a valid visa for Ahmedabad, Mumbai and Bangalore - the first two for the India-England Test series and the third for a Champions League game.
But following the terror attacks in Mumbai last week, the Test venues were changed to Chennai and Mohali, cities for which Rauf had to get visas again. But due to the weekend, followed by Eid holidays, there has been a delay in the issuance which has meant him stepping down for the first match.
However, the ICC hoped that Rauf would be able to stand in the second match of the series in Mohali, starting December 19.
Bowden, 45, has officiated in 127 ODIs and five Twenty20 internationals and will be standing in his 51st Test. He last stood in the fourth Test of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy between India and Australia in Nagpur last month.
The other ICC appointments for the series - the other on-field umpire, Daryl Harper of Australia and match referee Jeff Crowe of New Zealand - remain unchanged.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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