Steve Bucknor has rejected criticism of his umpiring during the first Test between Australia and India at Brisbane, especially his controversial leg-before decision against Sachin Tendulkar in India's first innings.
And Bucknor, long regarded as one of the best umpires in the world, dismissed suggestions that his form was on the wane. "Just recently I was umpiring the World Cup final so I don't understand what is happening, but at the moment I am pretty comfortable with my form," he told the Australian Associated Press. "The criticism doesn't bother me. Mistakes are going to be made. I know that. Everyone makes mistakes including myself."
The plethora of television replays indicated the ball which trapped Tendulkar would have sailed over the top of the stumps. But Bucknor delivered his verdict - described by the media in terms such as "a disgrace" and "an insult" - after his customary long deliberation.
"I give myself enough time to think about my decision, to replay just about everything about that delivery, and by so doing I should in the end be able to make that [correct] decision," he explained. While refusing to discuss the Tendulkar decision itself, he added, "Sometimes it doesn't go that way ... it's not because my brain is working slowly. Once the hit is made I have a fair idea of what my decision is, it's a matter of seeing whether something else could have happened."
Although the Tendulkar dismissal was the one which grabbed the headlines, Bucknor was also criticised for other decisions during the match. He gave Australia's batsmen the benefit of the doubt on three well-justified appeals, and also appeared to mistakenly reprieve Akash Chopra for what looked like a good bat-pad catch shortly after Tendulkar's wicket.