New Delhi: Steve Bucknors poor umpiring in the second Test in Sydney has evoked calls for the 61-year-old West Indian umpires immediate retirement from international matches.
Bucknor is the oldest umpire in ICCs Elite panel. The Australians were reeling at 134 for 6 before Bucknor gave a new lease of life to their innings by adjudging Andrew Symonds not out at 30. The allrounder went on to score an unbeaten 162.
Bucknor also surprised on the second day by deciding against referring a close stumping appeal against Symonds to the third umpire. Television replays suggested Symonds was outside the crease when the bails were dislodged.
Asserting that Bucknor was no longer competent enough to stand in international matches, former players felt the Jamaican was past his prime and his poor track record particularly against India has given rise to scepticism.
The quality of umpiring in the second Test was very poor. Since Bucknor has repeatedly made mistakes against India, he should not have been deputed for such an important series, former India captain Krishnamachari Srikkanth said.
Srikkanth said poor umpiring can drastically change the course of the match as was evident on the opening day of the second Test when the hosts recovered from 134 for 6 to 376 for 7, courtesy some umpiring shockers.
If it happens so often, Bucknor should be dropped from the Elite panel. He should not be deputed for matches involving India, Srikkanth said.
Former India captain Ajit Wadekar also urged the ICC to sack Bucknor at the earliest.
Its high time Steve Bucknor is removed for his consistently poor umpiring. Its absolutely necessary that the ICC brings in an uniform retirement age for umpires. Bucknor is 61.
More importantly the errors are made because you start getting over-confident. It could happen to anybody and he starts floating (in the air) unconsciously, he said.
He also called on the players to show some sportsman spirit and walk when they know that they are out.
Another former Test skipper Chandu Borde emphasised that competence and not age should be the criteria in continuing with the services of an umpire.
If a person is fit and doing a good job then I dont give importance to the age factor. Only if a person is not doing well and hes also old then I can understand removing him, Borde said.
I want a person who is really fit and doing it efficiently. Even if that person is old it doesnt matter. I agree umpiring has been poor in the Sydney Test but thats because the competency levels have gone down, he explained.