Umpiring is certainly an inseparable aspect of cricket. However, in the earlier times, even if an umpire did a great job, his efforts went unnoticed but it all took a major change when in March 1995 Brent Fraser "Billy" Bowden made his international umpiring debut. The realm of cricket saw a fresh and entertaining change that was wholeheartedly welcomed by the cricket fanatics.
He introduced a whole new dimension to umpiring. For over 84 Tests, 200 ODIs and 24 T20Is that he featured in, one could see an entire stadium cheer every time Bowden, with his trademark exaggerated signals and friendly interaction with players, tried to entertain the crowd whilst taking charge of one of the most tedious jobs on the cricket field. Despite the serious job that he had to take care of, Bowden ensured that he kept the atmosphere as light as possible.
Bowden's unique signals were not just because he tried to be entertaining all the time but because of the fact that he was suffering from rheumatoid arthritis since his early 20s. He was not trying to be extra jovial on purpose whilst donning an umpire's hat every time he raised his finger in a crooked manner to give a batsman out. Due to rheumatoid arthritis, it was painful for him to raise his finger straight. He had to use the crooked finger sign to avoid the pain.
However, instead of feeling down because of his medical condition, he choose to bring out a whole new colour to his job. With his infectious smile, he made his job as entertaining as possible, for both himself and the fans. He certainly made a lemonade when life handed him lemons and brought a smile to everyone's face. Hats off, Bowden.
Billy brought a lot of funny and memorable cricketing moments in his career. In this piece, we'll take a look at 5 of them.
#1 When he got really excited about a four
It was an ODI game between India and England when this funny moment emerged on the screen. Kevin Pieterson and Jonathan Trott were holding the fort for England. At 75/2, Pieterson struck a glorious loft over the mid-wicket for four. This was when Billy went deep in his reservoir of never-ending energy to signal the boundary in his own unique style. The crowd loved Billy's performance and the cheers echoed loud throughout the stadium.