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Thursday, June 27, 2013

Billy Bowden and Asad Rauf given out.... Bruce Oxenford is an Elite Umpire

Do you know or can you connect :  Madhav Gothoskar; Arani Jayaprakash; Swaroop Kishen; M. V. Nagendra; VK Ramaswamy; Judah Reuben; B Satyaji Rao; Mysore Vijayasarathi and Srinivas Venkataraghavan…………………. The Gentlemen in the middle with white coats with authority to decide – the finger going up, signalling or ordering the batsmen to trudge back towards the pavilion.   Much before the advent of IPL, crowds used to gather at Chepauk hours before the scheduled start and would go raptures when one could stop the Umpires stepping on to the field……

Even Umpires can be given out !!! - Long-serving duo Asad Rauf and Billy Bowden have been dropped from the Elite Panel of the International Cricket Council's umpires. Rauf's exclusion comes after he was stood down for the recently-completed Champions Trophy after it was reported he was being investigated by Mumbai Police in the wake of the match-fixing scandal that engulfed this year's Indian Premier League. Rauf has been on the elite list since 2006 and stood in 47 Tests, has subsequently refuted claims that he had been involved in match-fixing.

England's Richard Illingworth and former Australia seamer Paul Reiffel have been promoted to the 12-man list. It is stated that the  selection panel considered the overall performances of the umpires over the past 12 months when deciding which umpires would be offered contracts for 2013-14. The exclusion of Bowden, a popular figure in international cricket for his own unique style, comes after 11 years, and 75 Tests, as a top official. Paul Reiffel has played 35 Tests and was part of the winning 1999 World Cup  squad of  Australia; he has stood in four Tests since becoming an international umpire three years ago. Illingworth, a former left-arm spinner, played nine Tests and 25 ODIs for England, including the 1992 World Cup final against Pakistan. He has umpired in 4 Tests, 16 ODIs and seven T20Is since July 2010.

Now the present Elite Panel of umpires is : Aleem Dar, Kumar Dharmasena, Steve Davis, Marais Erasmus, Ian Gould, Tony Hill, Richard Kettleborough, Nigel Llong, Bruce Oxenford, Rod Tucker, Richard Illingworth and Paul Reiffel ~ there is not a single Indian in that…..

The Elite Panel of ICC Umpires is a panel of cricket umpires appointed by the International Cricket Council to officiate in Test matches and One Day Internationals around the world. The panel was first established in April 2002 when the ICC decided to reform the way that international cricket was umpired. The main change was that both umpires in Test match and one of the umpires in One-day international are now independent of the competing nations.

The one Indian in the Elite panel was the first to depart in 2004 – the great Offie [and gentleman] Srinivasa Venkatraghavan who retired.  Asoka de Silva, Dave Orchard and Russell Tiffin did not have their contracts renewed.  Darrell Hair, who joined the panel in 2003, was banned from officiating in matches involving full ICC members following the Ball tampering controversy in August 2006; though he was permitted to umpire later, he handed in his resignation after he was only allowed to officiate in two tests.

Elite panel obviously means that they form the best of the available lot and are differentiated from the rest……here is something interesting on - Bruce Nicholas James Oxenford, a former Cricketer and Umpire in Elite panel.  In 2008 he debuted in ODI and in test in 2010.  In Sept 2012, he entered ICC panel. 

It was 29th over of the ODI 3244 between India and Australia at  at Woolloongabba, Brisbane – 3rd ball of the over - Billy Bowden and SJ Davis  were the ones on field. Mike Hussey missed a delivery from Suresh Raina and Dhoni did a smart stumping.   The screen  on referral to 3rd Umpire showed ‘Out” – Hussey trudged back, Billy went running after recalling.  It was explained  that the Third Umpire has told him that it was not out but had pressed the wrong button –   it was not wrong technology but incapacity to do the simplest task – the man was Bruce Oxenford.   In June 2013, in ICC Champions Trophy finals, his decision giving Ian Bell stumped by Dhoni became hotly debated.  In a ODI in Sri Lanka at Hambantota, the TV commentators were surprised.  When Indians  sought the batting Powerplay later  and were told it had already been taken. It turned out that Virat asking for the cap was misunderstood as calling for powerplay – again Oxenford was at the centre.

Umpires can err; to err is human – but when it was Indian [Asian Umpires] – there would be outbursts and remember something done by an Asian Umpire, a couple of decades ago and the reaction of England or Australian to that…….  Poor Swarup Krishnans and Ramaswamis bore the brunt those days …

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.
27th June 2013.

PS:  Peter Willey was invited to be on the ICC Elite panel, but declined the opportunity because it would have required him to spend too much time away from his family.

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