Billy Bowden removed from New Zealand international umpiring panel
Eccentric Kiwi umpire Billy Bowden has been dropped from the New Zealand international umpiring panel. No reason has been given as to why the umpire was removed from the NZC panel. It is possible that he was removed after a review of performances of all umpires by the national cricket governing body.
Bowden was demoted to New Zealand Cricket's national panel. Derek Walker and Phil Jones were the other umpires who were demoted along with Bowden. New Zealand's umpiring ranks were shuffled around which resulted in former first-class players Shaun Haig and Chris Brown being promoted to the international panel to officiate in cricket matches. Wayne Knights was also added to the international panel.
The 53-year-old had last officiated in a New Zealand-Australia One-Day International (ODI) match in February 2016. Bowden was dropped from the International Cricket Council's (ICC) elite panel in 2013, however, he returned in 2014. Following the Test played between West Indies and England in May 2015 in Barbados, Bowden was once again removed from the international panel.
While being on the international panel, Bowden could still have officiated in international matches. Now, with his demotion, it means that the 53-year-old from Auckland can only be an umpire in domestic games and women's internationals.
The Kiwi umpire had officiated for over 21 years in 84 Tests and 200 ODIs. Bowden was one of the most enigmatic umpires in recent times with unique ways to show different umpiring signals. Few of his best ones were that of giving a batsman out with the ‘crooked finger’ and of standing up on one leg while lifting both hands to signal a six.
Bowden insisted that he was not able to straighten his finger due to arthritis. He was affected by arthritis in his early twenties. The umpire was a livewire on the field, always ensuring that the players and fans were equally entertained on the field.
In 2007, he was suspended from officiating in the inaugural World T20 after his role in the final of the 2007 ICC World Cup. He, along with, Steve Bucknor, Aleem Dar, Rudi Koertzen, and match referee, Jeff Crowe were banned from the officiating the following ICC event after they had decided that the final should be continued the next day after bad light had stopped play despite the minimum 20 overs being bowled.
NZC international panel: Chris Brown, Wayne Knights, Shaun Haig.
NZC national panel: Billy Bowden, Chris Brown, Tony Gillies, Shaun Haig, Phil Jones, Wayne Knights, Ash Mehrotra, Tim Parlane, Derek Walker.