Every cricket fan is familiar with the name Steve Bucknor, as the umpire who officiated in five World Cup finals. Interestingly he also officiated a football world cup qualifer match before switching sport three and a half years later.
The Jamaican born, was the official referee for a FIFA World Cup 1990 qualifier match held in 1988. He was handed the responsibility in a round 2 knock-out fixture between El Salvador and Netherlands Antilles in the North and Central America and Caribbean group. In the first leg, El Salvador edged out Netherlands Antilles 1-0. Bucknor was the man behind the whistle for the all-important second leg.
It was a one-sided match which El Salvador won 5-0 at home to progress to the next round of qualifiers. Bucknor booked two Netherlands Antilles players with yellow cards.
Bucknor, when he stood in a match at the 1992 Cricket World cup became the first man ever to officiate in both football and cricket World Cup. No one else has been able to replicate his feat till date. Bucknor was also a goalkeeper in his school days. The cricket umpire who retired from international cricket in March 2009, holds the record for standing in most number of Test matches.
The 68-year-old who was famous for his slow raising of hands to rule a batsmen out – earning him the nickname ‘Slow death’ – stood in a record 128 Test matches and 181 ODIs. He is also the first umpire to officiate all Test playing nations.