The Ashes 2013-14

Bowden brought back for Ashes

ESPNcricinfo staff

November 9, 2013

Comments: 30 | Text size: A | A

Michael Beer thought he had his first Test wicket until Billy Bowden called no ball, Australia v England, 5th Test, Sydney, 2nd day, January 4, 2011
Billy Bowden, pictured officiating during the previous Ashes in Australia, has been brought in for the upcoming series © Getty Images

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

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by whensdrinks 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.

Posted by mrmonty 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.

Posted by   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

Posted by KARMARKAR on (November 10, 2013, 18:49 GMT)

Good Decision by ICC. Billy is my favorite umpire

Posted by BiggerAl66 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.

Posted by milepost 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.

Posted by Ms.Cricket on (November 10, 2013, 6:53 GMT)

Bowden - a good umpire? Since when?

Posted by CrICkeeet 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...

Posted by azzaman333 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.

Posted by   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.

Posted by 1ofakind_testcricket on (November 10, 2013, 2:28 GMT)

Bowden, Hill, God have mercy on us all...

Posted by somethingdifferent on (November 10, 2013, 0:10 GMT)

@Hillaire Rana/Gatting incident had nothing to do with biased decision making, Vindaliew is correct in this regard. Before the introduction of neutral umpiring by Pakistan all umpires were completely biased towards their country, cannot limit this concept to subcontinent and australian umpires only. West indian and english umpires ( except bird & shepard) were no better.

Posted by ShutTheGate on (November 9, 2013, 23:13 GMT)

Dar umpiring in 3 matches. Both teams should be given an extra 2 DRS reviews to compensate.

Posted by gaindballa on (November 9, 2013, 22:31 GMT)

You must be kidding. Mr. Bowden is not a good umpire. This is not a personal attack. He may very well be a very nice person but there is absolutely no question regarding the inadequacy of his umpiring skills.

Posted by regofpicton on (November 9, 2013, 21:08 GMT)

I was surprised when Bowden was dropped from the Elite Panel. He didn't seem to make many mistakes. As for the claims made here that he is biased against Australia, some evidence would be vuseful, don't you think? I suspect that these comments are from people who are not optimistic about the results of the forthcoming series and are already looking for excuses. They shouln't be so anxious. It's probably going to be a very close and interesting ashes . . .

Posted by Hillaire on (November 9, 2013, 18:57 GMT)

@Vindaliew I am gonna say Rana was biased because it was so blatent like the majority of subcontinent and aussie toursfor that matter before neutral umpires

Posted by Stumay on (November 9, 2013, 16:46 GMT)

Surely Russell Tiffin is the answer.

Posted by Ragav999 on (November 9, 2013, 16:25 GMT)

Both teams should be given the choice of picking the umpires for the series and the umpires who are deemed to be good by both sides should be selected first. If there are remaining slots, ICC should pick the best from neutral umpires. Of course all this is possible only when there are not many test series played across the globe at the same time. So the scheduling issues should be addressed first which will improve the quality of umpiring as the umpires too have time to rest adequately between series. I personally feel that Billy Bowden is not as good as Simon Taufel and is anti Australian.

Posted by Vindaliew on (November 9, 2013, 16:11 GMT)

Neutral Umpires are not picked because they are better at making decisions, but because when they get it wrong, nobody can claim that it was anything worse than a lapse of judgement. Football has had neutral referees for donkeys' years now. Granted that even neutral umpires sometimes have personal bias against or for other countries than their own, but that's impractical to police against. Having neutral umpires is the least that can be done to remove the perception of bias and prevent a repeat of, for example, the Mike Gatting/Shakoor Rana incident again. I'm not saying that Umpire Rana was (or wasn't) biased, but if he wasn't from the same country as his opponents, I doubt Gatting would have had half the reason to lose it like that.

Posted by 2.14istherunrate on (November 9, 2013, 15:08 GMT)

At last they have seen sense and brought Billy back. I would have had Rauf too, and Erasmus would not have anywhere near the TV umpire's post. Sorry but that Agar decision is still fresh in my mind. If people thought that non neutral umpires were the future, I would have to say that they would have to be 99% accurate,and after Llong's decision v Tendulkar I would have to say he was not 99% on that one. Actually that may have prompted BCCI to reconsider DRS. Anyway we shall no doubt hear from Bob Willis on the whole matter, probably off that very very long run which goes half round the bend. Each country has a duty I think to provide two umpires of the correct standard,so we can have a more diverse panel.

Posted by CodandChips on (November 9, 2013, 13:58 GMT)

Agree on he neutral umpires. Local umpires would help on bad light. Nasser Hussain following the light fiasco at Old Trafford "What is a dark day for a 60 year old from new zealand isn't necessarily dark in Manchester" got it spot on.

Posted by Big_Maxy_Walker on (November 9, 2013, 13:33 GMT)

Wont be any repeats of Billy giving players out who hadn't hit the ball like in the 2007 ashes with DRS hopefully. But yes I think the neutral umpires policy is silly

Posted by AhmedEsat on (November 9, 2013, 12:53 GMT)

Umpires do their best and they're only human! What's so wrong with that?

Posted by CodandChips on (November 9, 2013, 12:42 GMT)

@FFS I agree. Some of the mistakes were amateurish, from the Agar Stumping, Trott LBW and Broad edge at Trent Bridge, Khawaja "ghost edge" dismissal wherever that was, and the bad light fiasco at Old Trafford. My preference would be non-neutral umpires.

Posted by kirtonalan on (November 9, 2013, 12:41 GMT)

Surely having DRS in place makes neutral umpires obsolete thus making it easy for host nations to supply local umpires.

Posted by Front-Foot-Sponge on (November 9, 2013, 12:19 GMT)

I think Bowden is a good umpire. He can't blunder any more than the umpires did in the last Ashes can he?

Posted by   on (November 9, 2013, 12:13 GMT)

I think the ridiculous neutral umpire theory should be scrapped and best umpires appointed. Steve Davis Rod Tucker Illingworth are good. If there is paucity of umpires Ashoka De Silva deserves another chance

Posted by CodandChips on (November 9, 2013, 11:53 GMT)

All had at least one shocking moment in the Ashes- Erasmus with Agar stumping and Trott LBW, Dar with the Broad nick, Dharmasena with the Khwaja dismissal, Tony Hill with the Old Trafford light etc. I think I counted 3 shocking 3rd umpire decisions per side. Made DRS look bad. Bring back non-neutral umpires.

Posted by Orsoncarte on (November 9, 2013, 11:48 GMT)

Isn't Blind Freddy available?

Posted by xtrafalgarx on (November 9, 2013, 11:20 GMT)

The most consistent umpire out of these blokes is Marais Erasmus. Dar gets a big wrap, but always gets the big decisions wrong. Dharmasena used to be good, but then has recently starting pulling out a few howlers of his own.

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