My First World Cup was my most mem­o­rable – Bucknor

The Star (Jamaica) - - Front Page - LEN­NOX ALDRED STAR Writer

For­mer in­ter­na­tional um­pire Steve Bucknor has gone down as one of the best of­fi­cials in the his­tory of the game of cricket.

The leg­endary Ja­maican, now 74, is still hon­ing his craft, al­beit on a smaller scale, where he um­pires and ref­eree matches in New York at the high-school and re­cre­ational lev­els.

There were many firsts in the il­lus­tri­ous ca­reer of the man from Mon­tego Bay, who um­pired in 128 Test matches and 181 One Day In­ter­na­tion­als be­tween 1989 and 2009.

He was the first to reach the mile­stone of um­pir­ing in 100 Test matches and held the record for the most Test matches um­pired un­til De­cem­ber 2019, when Aleem Dar of Pak­istan stood in his 129th match as an on-field um­pire.

But the for­mer FIFA ref­eree who was awarded the Or­der of Ja­maica Com­man­der class in 2007 for his out­stand­ing ser­vice in the field of sport, said of­fi­ci­at­ing in his first ICC Cricket World Cup in 1992 in Aus­tralia was his most mem­o­rable achieve­ment to date.

“I was the least ex­pe­ri­enced um­pire at the World Cup, hav­ing done a few ODI games and less than 10 first-class games. I thought I was do­ing very well, and what made it bet­ter was the use of big screens at the grounds to show the de­ci­sions.

“I set a tar­get that I wanted to go to the semi-fi­nals. If I reached the semis I would be happy with my­self. Once I did that semi-fi­nal, where Pak­istan beat New Zealand, the same night they said to me, ‘Bucknor, you are do­ing the fi­nal, but please don’t tell any­one.’ It took them three days to find a part­ner for me and I was happy with my de­ci­sion- mak­ing in that fi­nal,” said Bucknor.

Bucknor would go on to of­fi­ci­ate in the next four World Cup fi­nals in 1996, 1999, 2003 and the 2007 World Cup in the West Indies.

The 74-year-old de­scribed Sir

Vi­vian Richards, Brian Lara and Sachin Ten­dulkar as the best bats­men he has seen, while he po­et­i­cally de­scribed Aus­tralian leg-spin­ner Shane Warne as the ‘Wizard of Oz Ma­gi­cian’ when it comes to bowl­ing.

Bucknor said Mal­colm Mar­shall was the best fast bowler he has wit­nessed in his ca­reer; how­ever, he made men­tion that Curtly Am­brose, Wasim Akram and Glen McGrath were also ex­cep­tional.

He added that Pak­istan pacer Shoaib Akhtar was the fastest bowler he has ever wit­nessed.

FILE

Aus­tralia’s McGrath (right), bowls against Scot­land as um­pire Steve Bucknor of the West Indies watches dur­ing their World Cup match in St Kitts in March 2007.

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