Former International cricket umpire Steve Bucknor admitted to ‘two mistakes’ in the controversial Sydney Test in 2008 between Australia and India that might have cost the visitors the game.
In a match which is remembered for its infamous for ‘monkey gate’ spat between Andrew Symonds and Harbhajan Singh, Bucknor admitted that even though mistakes happen, those two errors have haunted him since then.
In an interview to Midday, Bucknor said: “I made two mistakes in the Sydney Test in 2008. Mistake one, which happened when India were doing well, allowed an Australian batsman to get a hundred. Mistake two, on day five, might have cost India the game. But still, they are two mistakes over five days. Was I the first umpire to make two mistakes in a Test? Still, those two mistakes seem to have haunted me.”
With no DRS back then, Bucknor remained unmoved when Symonds, batting on 30, edged a delivery from Ishant Sharma. The second mistake could be a reference to Rahul Dravid’s wicket on the last day of the Test with replays confirming the ball had flicked his front knee roll on the way.
“You need to know why mistakes are made,” Bucknor said. “You don’t want to make similar mistakes again. I am not giving excuses but there are times when the wind is blowing down the pitch and the sound travels with the wind. The commentators hear the nick from the stump mic but the umpires may not be sure. These are things spectators won’t know.”
As a result of the umpiring error, Bucknor was removed from officiating the third Test in Perth by ICC. Bucknor, however, had a glorious career and reflected on his journey. “I stood in only four Tests and three ODIs before that [1992 World Cup],” Bucknor recalled. “And I was the only umpire from the Caribbean at that World Cup. So I didn’t know if I was good enough to be there. During the tournament, I was told I was doing very well. The captains had good things to say. My aim was to be among the six umpires for the semi-finals. I would have been happy to even be a reserve umpire. I stood in the New Zealand versus Pakistan semi-final in Auckland. And after the match I was told, ‘Bucknor, you’re doing the final.’
“I remember in 1996, West Indies versus Australia in the semi-final. I was in Delhi and I left my hotel room when Australia were 15 for 4. I went down to the lobby and told them to book my tickets to Jamaica. I then packed my bags and got ready to leave the next morning. That night, West Indies lost. I was sad because I wanted West Indies in the final. But personally, I was happy. Once the game was over, I was told, ‘Bucknor, first flight out to Pakistan for the final.'”
Bucknor retired in 2009 after officiating in 128 Tests and 181 ODIs.
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