Cricket umpire Bucknor to retire next month

February 23rd, 2009 - 4:06 pm ICT by IANS  

Kingston (Jamaica), Feb 23 (IANS) West Indian umpire Steve Bucknor will retire from Test cricket after the three-match series between South Africa and Australia next month.
Bucknor, 62, who was in an eye of storm last year during the highly volatile series between India and Australia, has informed the International Cricket Council (ICC) of his decision.

“I have informed the ICC that the South Africa-Australia series will be my last,” Bucknor was quoted as saying in Jamaica Gleaner. “The third Test match in Cape Town will be my last Test match,” Bucknor, who has stood in a record 126 Test matches and 179 one-day internationals (ODIs), said.

The Cape Town Test (March 19-23) will be his 129th, the most ever by an umpire.

His last two ODIs will be in Barbados March 27 and 29 between West Indies and England.

Bucknor, who will turn 63 in May, said physically he could go on for “another two to three years” but an inner feeling tells him to quit.

“Something inside me tells that it is time to go,” added Bucknor, who has been an international umpire since 1989. In March 2005, Bucknor became the first umpire to stand in 100 Tests, and only Rudi Koertzen (190) has umpired in more ODIs.

He also stood in a record five successive World Cup finals, 1992, 1996, 1999, 2003 and 2007.

The Montego Bay-born Bucknor, who was once a FIFA referee, hopes to work with the young umpires of the region after his retirement.

“I hope I will be accorded the opportunity by the West Indies board to work with young umpires in the region because I still would like to continue making a contribution,” said Bucknor.

Bucknor said he would ideally like to continue umpiring locally at the club, parish and schoolboys level to share the vast knowledge and experience gained over the years.

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