By CricketCountry Staff
Chennai: May 4, 2012
Billy Bowden known for his unique umpiring signals and humour said that his co-umpires in the ICC panel Asad Rauf and Aleem Dar understand his sense of humour very well.
Billy said, “All umpires get to know you over the years and have a certain understanding on how you tick. But two that 'connect' best to my sense of humour are Aleem Dar and Asad Rauf.”
Popularly known for raising a bent finger to signal a batsman out, Billy felt his jovial appearance on the cricket field has changed the stereotype of umpire being a grumpy character in cricket. He suggests that the gentleman’s game need not be too serious all the time.
“I think we all take the game too seriously at times. It's only a game after all and not life or death. If you work hard, respect the game, don't take the game for granted and are honest with yourself and others, then there's no reason you can't enjoy the moments at every given opportunity. I say don't get grumpy, be happy!”
He also added that it’s not only him but every umpire has a unique action. “You'll see each umpire’s style of signals and giving out decisions is different. It shows the character and personality of an umpire, I believe. Yes, I have had arthritis since 1986, so giving out decisions with a bent or crooked finger is partly due to my arthritis condition.”
Bowden turned to umpiring after the onset of arthritis in his early-twenties, and first officiated in an ODI in March, 1995. He has officiated in 70 test matches and more than 170 ODI matches.
Billy said that he finds umpiring in IPL interesting because it’s an opportunity for umpires like him to test their skills. Focusing on the fitness of the umpires, he said it is necessary to keep oneself fit physically and mentally.
“The main difference is the amount of matches we officiate in over a short period of time along with the travel. Umpires need to be both mentally fit and physically in good condition to withstand the heat and demands placed on them pre and post match.” he said.
Billy though felt that he hardly looked up to any particular umpire as an inspiration but only learnt different techniques looking at various umpires.
“I have looked, listened and learned from past and present umpires on how they prepare, plan and what techniques they use. At the end of the day, I found that all umpires have similar techniques, routines and trigger points when umpiring at the international level,” he was quoted as saying by the official website of Indian Premier League.
Billy concluded by mentioning that maintaining a balance between fun and professionalism on the field comes with experience.
“What brings the best out of you in your umpiring comes with experience. Since making my international debut in 1995, I’ve endeavoured to utilise my experiences to maintain a professional attitude and respect for the game. One should learn more from failing than succeeding. But it's important I enjoy my umpiring and strive to be the best umpire I can be. Once I know in my heart that I have reached my true ability as an umpire, then I will call 'over and time' for the last time,” he ended.