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Bucknor gives decision a year after match ends

And the thrilling news of the world's first medium-pace academy

Anand Ramachandran

Comments: 59 | Text size: A | A
Steve Bucknor prays on the pitch during his final Test, South Africa v Australia, 3rd Test, 4th day, Cape Town, March 22, 2009
"And Lord, if I have found grace in your eyes, let me not have to shake Ponting's spit-stained hand" © Getty Images
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Players/Officials: Roger Binny | Steve Bucknor | Madan Lal | Madan Lal

West Indian umpire Steve Bucknor, known to take his time over decisions, really went overboard last week when he turned up at Mitchell Johnson's residence and shocked the Aussie bowler by granting an lbw appeal he had made against Ashwell Prince - in the Test match played between Australia and South Africa in Cape Town in March 2009, which was, incidentally, Bucknor's final game.

"It was the strangest thing," said a visibly shaken Johnson. "I heard this knock on the door, and when I opened it, it was Steve Bucknor. He proceeded to slowly raise his finger, nod and murmur 'out' in his unmistakable baritone. I had absolutely no clue what was going on - until he explained the situation."

It turns out that, after more than a year of careful consideration, Bucknor had finally decided that Johnson's appeal indeed had merit, and that Prince was plumb in front. So the umpire decided to do the right thing and, even though it was a bit late in the day, give the batsman out.

"I know he takes his time but this is beyond ridiculous!" thundered the furious Australia skipper, Ricky Ponting. "The decision could have changed the match. Prince went on to score 150, putting the game out of our reach. A few seconds is all right, but 18 months to give an lbw decision is a bit much, even for Bucknor," he added in frustration.

Bucknor, however, insisted that he had done no wrong, saying, "Everyone knows that the most important thing is to get the decision right. That's why I spent the last year or so carefully studying video replays, photo analyses and reliving the moment in my mind, until I was sure that Prince was most definitely out and had to go."

He also admitted that since that particular match was shown only a couple of times in the intervening period, he often had to resort to carefully studying replays of other, completely irrelevant lbws from unrelated games that he didn't even officiate in. When a reporter had the temerity to suggest that this was a tad nonsensical, Bucknor retaliated angrily, saying, "You media people are never happy. You've always said that umpires should use the TV replays whenever possible - which is exactly what I have done. So what's the problem?"

Bucknor's press conference was cut short as he had to leave for South America urgently, to blow the whistle for an off-side decision against El Salvador in their football World Cup qualifier against the Netherlands Antilles in 1988.

Meanwhile, former Indian Test players Roger Binny and Madan Lal are teaming up to establish what could possibly be the world's first medium-pace academy.

"With so much fuss being made over fast bowling and spin bowling, we believe that there is an immediate and urgent need to revive the dying art of classical medium pace," Madan Lal said, speaking to reporters. "There are very few bowlers today who can get batsmen out through sheer tedium, wearing them down as they wait for seemingly interminable periods for the delivery to eventually reach them, or surprising them with vicious bouncers that rear up at their knees.

"Roger and I are committed to creating a generation of youngsters who will grow up with a deep love and passion for the craft of medium pace."

"We wish to revive the old Indian tradition of bowlers whose run-ups were quicker than their deliveries," added Binny.

Binny and Madan Lal will be inviting a galaxy of medium-pace legends to be guest coaches at the academy - including Gavin Larsen, Ian Austin, Mudassar Nazar and Mohinder Amarnath. They are still undecided on whether to invite Raghuram Bhat, as nobody has yet managed to figure out what exactly he used to bowl.

While the response hasn't been overwhelming, Madan Lal reassured us that the seats were filling up at a gentle, steady pace.

RSS FeedAnand Ramachandran is a writer and humourist based in Mumbai. He blogs at bosey.co.in. All the quotes and "facts" in this article are made up (but you knew that already, didn't you?)

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Comments: 59 
Posted by PGW81 on (September 27, 2010, 9:18 GMT)

No doubt the Indians are good at blame games - every human is bound to make mistakes and Bucknor is no exception. I am an Indian but do not see any point in blaming everything except our game. Gone is the spirit of cricket. Captains of yesteryear who graciously said - MAY THE BETTER TEAM WIN are replaced by over-gracious captains who say MAY THE BETTER TEAM WIN AND MAY WE BE THE BETTER TEAM. the bad stands out against the correct decisions that Bucknor gave. The Indian team never admitted that they were outplayed - rather they found a scapegoat - the reason being the MONEY POWER that surpasses willow power in India. It was an umpiring blemish as happens in every series - but the Indian media blew it out of proportions and the public fanned the fire and made it huge. Stop this crap and lets appreciate an umpire whose love for the game was true. Read how and bucknor became an umpire and you will realize what he has done for the game. Steve Bucknor - u truly are a great umpire.

Posted by   on (September 26, 2010, 16:13 GMT)

Hahahaha lolz "reviving the dying art of classical medium pace bowling"

Posted by PrasPunter on (September 25, 2010, 18:44 GMT)

Well said @NorthernTerritorian - Indians are all talk and no real action. They claim that they are the rising super power ( couldnt stop laughing at this for long ) and china and the US are jealous of them . Amidst all the big-talk, all they could do was the CWG and everyone knows what it means. Bucknor was one of the best umpires . of course he commited errors, but who doesn't. But the Indians, as we know, are known for whinging , crying and you-name-it. They need excuses for their failures. Now every umpire will hesitate to raise the finger on field, for these are the guys who can do anything , what with a corrupt board to back them. For the game's sake, high time their so-called influence in the game crumbles like a cookie.

Posted by nskaile on (September 25, 2010, 13:50 GMT)

Hahahaha hilarious stuff haha love page2. Poor Johnson haha

Posted by katochnr on (September 25, 2010, 13:37 GMT)

medium pacers academy??? best plan of the year !!

Posted by Gupta.Ankur on (September 25, 2010, 6:52 GMT)

Steve Bucknor would be the worst umpire i have seen and he single handedly cost India 2 series win down under..

Not to forget the number of times he gave sachin out when to everyone else he wasn't.....

Posted by TheBigFatFlapjack on (September 25, 2010, 5:39 GMT)

mr writer, as pgw81 pointed out you're not too different from bucknor, are'nt u? your article is more than a year late. punctuality doesnt seem your thing, eh? oh, people living in glass houses...

Posted by TheBigFatFlapjack on (September 25, 2010, 5:39 GMT)

mr writer, as pgw81 pointed out you're not too different from bucknor, are'nt u? your article is more than a year late. punctuality doesnt seem your thing, eh? oh, people living in glass houses...

Posted by   on (September 25, 2010, 5:35 GMT)

Way to go...others must follow suit...Terry I was not out last season's first game, you gave me out lbw!!!!

Posted by TheBigFatFlapjack on (September 25, 2010, 5:33 GMT)

@pgw81 - well said!! looks like steve bucknor's unfortunate errors at the twilight of his career made him a hate figure among indian cricket fans. they seem to forget the immense contribution he made towards cricket. after all, werent these the very people singing his praises in the not too distant past! that said i'm waiting for the indians to start flinging wild conspiracy thories against bucknor and accusing him of being 'racist'!!

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Anand Ramachandran
Anand Ramachandran is a game designer and writer based in Bangalore. He specialises in finding creative ways to justify time and money spent on watching sports, playing games and reading comics as "professional investment". He boasts a batting average of 79.66 with 53 first-class hundreds in various cricket videogames, on platforms as diverse as the Sinclair ZX-Spectrum and modern PCs and consoles.

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Anand RamachandranClose
Anand Ramachandran Anand Ramachandran is a game designer and writer based in Bangalore. He specialises in finding creative ways to justify time and money spent on watching sports, playing games and reading comics as "professional investment". He boasts a batting average of 79.66 with 53 first-class hundreds in various cricket videogames, on platforms as diverse as the Sinclair ZX-Spectrum and modern PCs and consoles.
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