Tributes paid to Bucknor on retirement from Test cricket umpiring

March 23rd, 2009 - 4:09 pm ICT by ANI  

Cape Town (South Africa), Mar.23 (ANI): Test cricket on Sunday said farewell and thanks to West Indian Steve Bucknor, the most experienced umpire to date in the longest form of the game.
The 62-year-old Jamaican umpired his final Test match at Newlands in Cape Town between South Africa and Australia, his 128th match in the middle.
Bucknor started umpiring at international level in 1989 when he took charge of the One-Day International (ODI) between the West Indies and India at the Antigua Recreation Ground on March 18. His first Test, between the same opponents, in his native Jamaica, started just over a month later, on April 28.
Since that time, Bucknor has umpired five consecutive ICC Cricket World Cup finals since 1992 and is to date the Test umpire with most appearances, with fellow Emirates Elite Panelist South Africas Rudi Koertzen 29 matches behind his record tally.
Only Koertzen stands above Bucknor in terms of ODI appearances with 195 matches compared to the Montego Bay-born officials 179, a tally that should rise to 181 when he signs off on his international umpiring career with two matches as the local appointee when the West Indies faces England in Barbados on 27 and 29 March.
Before play on the Friday, the second day of the Newlands Test, ICC Chief Executive Haroon Lorgat presented Bucknor with a painting featuring images of his umpiring career while the players and officials formed a guard of honour for him when play resumed after tea on Sunday, the fourth and what turned out to be the final day of the match.
And when the final wicket was taken Bucknor lingered briefly in the middle of the ground to pray and then embarked on a final lap of the ground. Meanwhile, administrators, colleagues and former players all paid tribute to the umpiring great.
ICC Chief Executive Haroon Lorgat said: Steves is a career that has embraced so much and deserves to be celebrated. His record of five consecutive ICC Cricket World Cup finals will not, I contend, be overtaken and he will retire as the umpire to have officiated in the most Test matches and the first to break the 100 Test mark.
His endurance is testament to discipline and consistency two characteristics to which all in cricket should aspire. On behalf of the ICC thank you for your great service to the game and we wish you well in the future.
ICC General Manager Cricket and former South Africa wicketkeeper, David Richardson said: I have known Steve Bucknor since my playing days with South Africa. He has been a highly respected umpire and outstanding servant to the game of cricket.
Steves talents will be sorely missed on the Emirates Elite Panel of ICC Umpires and he will be leaving a void in the game when he departs. I wish him well in his retirement from the game and every success in the future.
Former ICC Match Referee and current ICC Cricket Committee Chairman Clive Lloyd said: Ive known Steve since his inception as an ICC umpire and have worked with him as an ICC match referee and things that comes to mind about him are his honesty and hard-working attitude. He takes his job very seriously and is a huge credit to cricket and the game.
We all have to go at sometime and now it is Steves time but I hope he continues to work within cricket. It will be a loss to the game if he doesnt continue in some capacity with cricket and I hope that the West Indies Cricket Board will look to use his knowledge and experience when it comes to training and coaching new umpires.
I wish him well for the next part of his career he is a great Jamaican and a great West Indian.
Emirates Elite Panel ICC Match Referee and former New Zealand captain Jeff Crowe headed up Bucknors final Test Playing Control Team and said of Bucknors retirement from the Test circuit: Steve is a gentle giant whose experience and expression of the Laws of the game fit his unmistakable stature in the middle.
We will miss his quiet but purposeful presence in almost every umpires dressing room on the planet.
Former Pakistan cricket captain Inzamam-ul-Haq praised Bucknors skills and hoped the West Indian would continue to coach other umpires in the future.
I first met Steve during the 1992 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand and it was the time when I was trying to cement my place in that multi-talented Pakistan team, said Inzamam.
The journey since then with Steve has been fabulous and the more he stood in our matches the better I got to know him.
Former England captain and batsman-wicketkeeper Alec Stewart said: I hold Steve Bucknor up there with David Shepherd as one of the greats of my era in umpiring. I think the fact Steve has been able to stand for as long as he has is a great reflection of him as an individual and also as an umpire.
Emirates Elite Panel ICC Umpire Rudi Koetzen said Bucknors departure would be a significant loss for the group and that his replacement would have some big shoes to fill. (ANI)

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