The Ashes 2013-14 November 9, 2013

Bowden brought back for Ashes

ESPNcricinfo staff

Billy Bowden is to return to elite-level umpiring during the Ashes after being drafted in for the upcoming series in Australia. Bowden was dropped from the ICC's Elite Panel of umpires in June but has been announced as one of the on-field umpires for the third Test in Perth and the TV umpire in Melbourne.

Umpiring decisions had been a source of controversy during the Ashes series in England, particularly with regard to the officials' use of the Decision Review System. The fact that only four of the 12-man Elite Panel are not English or Australian put further strain on the four neutral umpires involved: Aleem Dar, Kumar Dharmasena, Marais Erasmus and Tony Hill.

Hill, Bowden's fellow New Zealander, will be employed only in the third umpire's chair in Australia, which the ICC said was a move aimed at introducing more consistency in the application of the DRS.

"We felt that we needed to spread the appointments across five umpires for the five-Test series, rather than just the four that were used in the UK," the ICC's general manager of cricket operations, Geoff Allardice, said. "Billy Bowden is the most experienced umpire on the International Panel, and understands what is needed for the umpiring team to perform well in high-profile Test matches.

"Appointing Tony Hill as TV umpire in three of the five matches is recognition that the role is becoming increasingly important in a DRS series. Having the same person in the chair more often should translate into more consistent decisions being made."

A number of decision during the previous Ashes became flashpoints, with particular doubt cast over the reliability of the Hot Spot technology used as part of the DRS. Allardice met with the management of both teams between the third and fourth Tests to discuss flaws in the system, with the dismissals of Jonathan Trott at Lord's and Usman Khawaja at Old Trafford subjected to particular external scrutiny.

Precise details of the DRS set-up to be used in Australia have yet to be confirmed. England travelled Down Under believing that Hot Spot would not be utilised in the series but talks have reportedly resumed between the host broadcaster, Channel Nine, and BBG Sports, the company which provides the technology, with the potential for Real Time Snicko - a more complex procedure for detecting edges - to be used in conjunction with thermal imaging.

Ashes 2013-14 umpires

Brisbane - Dar, Dharmasena; Erasmus (TV umpire)
Adelaide - Erasmus, Dharmasena; Hill
Perth - Erasmus, Bowden; Hill
Melbourne - Dar, Dharmasena; Bowden
Sydney - Dar, Erasmus; Hill

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Ralph on November 15, 2013, 2:58 GMT

    If Bowden is as good as it gets then International Umpiring is in trouble. The "having to have neutral umpires" hurts Australia and the Commonwealth Invitational IX, sorry England, as most of the best umpires come from England and Oz. Why can't we have one non-neutral umpire when they are better then what we do get served up repeatedly? It is a pity that Simon Taufel cannot stand at a Boxing Day Test and would have been a travesty if Shep or Dicky could never have officiated at Lords.

  • Samrat on November 12, 2013, 17:24 GMT

    Guys...guys...just like you have been spoiled by Adam Gilchrist to raise your standards for wicket-keeper-batsman, without your knowing it, you also have been led to believe that all umpires would be Simon Taufel. Welcome back to reality.

  • Dummy4 on November 10, 2013, 21:28 GMT

    They have missed out on the opportunity of appointing the most perfect umpire in the world, umpire gainballa

  • Santosh on November 10, 2013, 18:49 GMT

    Good Decision by ICC. Billy is my favorite umpire

  • Alan on November 10, 2013, 13:35 GMT

    Billy Bowden, Aleem Dar and Marais Erasmus are all excellent umpires. They all make mistakes, but are only human. With various replays and DRS, it makes umpires sometimes look worse than they actually are. I think the standard of umpiring is as good as it has ever been. I am sure Dicky Bird made a few mistakes, but the TV coverage did not make them look so obvious.

  • Cameron on November 10, 2013, 9:16 GMT

    Bowden is rated as a good umpire and a number of players say that he is the best decision maker in cricket.

  • Prem on November 10, 2013, 6:53 GMT

    Bowden - a good umpire? Since when?

  • Khub on November 10, 2013, 6:26 GMT

    Rod Tucker, Ian Gould, Ashoka de Silva, Tarapore, Tony hill, Bowden... I always frightened 2 watch a match when i could see them umpiring...

  • Aaron on November 10, 2013, 5:10 GMT

    With any luck, Erasmus and Dar will be picked for all 5 tests, because I shudder to think what'll happen if we get Bowden and Dharmasena out in the middle with Hill operating as 3rd ump. It'd almost be preferable for the batting team to send a couple of their players out to umpire.

  • Dummy4 on November 10, 2013, 3:47 GMT

    I think the ICC have missed a great opportunity to have one Australian and one English umpire stand as the on field officials, in the five ashes test matches, with a neutral TV umpire. Obviously this is not the current policy of selection of umpires for test matches, but this would be the right time to try something for the potential benefit to the game.

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