Indian cricket fans who grew up in the Sachin Tendulkar era will forever remember the batsman walking off to some horrendous umpiring decisions by umpire Steve Bucknor. Some of those continued to haunt fans for years. Now, Bucknor has come out and offered some respite, saying he ‘regrets’ those decisions.
In his heyday, Bucknor was regarded as one of the top umpires in the ICC Elite Panel. However, a couple of his infamous decisions sent the entire cricketing fraternity into a tizzy.
The first instance was back in 2003, during the India vs Australia Gabba Test when Bucknor adjudged Tendulkar LBW on a duck off Jason Gillespie’s bowling. The ball was clearly going above the wickets and it was labelled as one of the worst umpiring errors in international cricket. Tendulkar, as usual, walked back to the pavilion once the finger went up. Australia, knowing they had the prized wicket, indulged in celebrations.
The second such error from Bucknor happened in 2005 at the Eden Gardens against Pakistan. The umpire thought Tendulkar had edged a delivery off Abdul Razzaq and ultimately gave him out caught behind. However, the replays later confirmed that there was no contact between Tendulkar’s bat and the ball. This time, Tendulkar was coming off a 52 in the first innings. Co-incidentally, he fell for the same score in the second.
“To err is human”
Here’s what umpire Bucknor recently had to say about those decisions.
“Tendulkar was given out on two different occasions when those were mistakes. I do not think any umpire would want to do a wrong thing. It lives with him and his future could be jeopardised,” Bucknor spoke on the Mason and Guests radio programme.
“To err is human. Once in Australia, I gave him out leg before wicket and the ball was going over the top. Another time, in India it was caught behind. The ball deviated after passing the bat but there was no touch. But the match was at Eden Gardens and when you are at the Eden and India is batting, you hear nothing.
“Because 100,000 spectators are making noise. Those were the mistakes and I was unhappy. I am saying a human is going to make mistakes and accepting mistakes are part of life,” he added.
On the DRS
Bucknor further lauded the introduction of the Decision Review System (DRS) in cricket and said that such technology has improved the quality of umpiring today.
“It has improved umpiring because there was a time when we were saying the batsman was so-called playing down the line, therefore he is not going to be given out leg before, but if the technology is saying the ball is hitting, then you have to give him out. So, we learn from the technology,” admitted a modest Bucknor.
“Now thinking about when I was umpiring and I gave a batsman out who was not out, realizing I made a mistake it took a long time to fall asleep that night. Now you can fall asleep quickly because the correct decision is eventually given.”
Hopefully, now, Tendulkar fans will finally sleep peacefully.