Former players call for Bucknor's head

Former India cricketers on Sunday lashed out at the umpires for their "incompetence" during the second India-Australia cricket Test at Sydney.

updated: January 08, 2008 13:23 IST
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New Delhi:

Former India cricketers on Sunday lashed out at the umpires for their "incompetence" during the second India-Australia cricket Test at Sydney and called for the immediate retirement of controversial West Indian Steve Bucknor.

The ex-cricketers also deplored Australians' unsporting conduct during the match and felt it was no longer a gentleman's game.

It was a combination of inept batting and "atrocious umpiring" that did India in, felt former wicketkeeper Syed Kirmani.

"Umpiring standards have gone down in this match, particularly in Bucknor's case. He is losing his vision and hearing as shown by some of his decisions. I suggest there should be a fitness test for umpires as well."

Kirmani also trained his guns at the Australians, saying that Ricky Ponting's men did not show "sportsmanship."

He said the umpires should use technology whenever they are in doubt.

"Whenever there is a doubt, the benefit should go to the batsman. But even if that's not the case, the on-field umpires should consult the third umpire as Bucknor did on a couple of occasions. But there was no consistency," Kirmani added.

Former captain Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi was particularly incensed with umpire Mark Benson for not consulting his colleague Bucknor about the contentious catch of Sourav Ganguly.

"He (Benson) could have asked Bucknor at square-leg or referred the matter to the third umpire. But to ask the fielder about whether the ball carried is not correct. The umpire should be pulled up for doing this," he said.

Pataudi felt asking the fielder about such catches was acceptable during his playing days, but not any longer.

"In my time, it was quite normal for umpires to ask the fielders. So I guess, it was a gentleman's game at that time, but may be, not any more," he said.

Increased use of technology was not the answer to such controversies, he felt.

"The problem is about the competence of the umpires. Technology itself cannot be the answer. You have to have competent umpires in the middle.

"What we saw in Sydney today is infuriating andannoying," Pataudi fumed.

Former India cricketer Ajay Jadeja echoed Pataudi's view that technology alone was not the solution.

"If you go for technology, you have to be sure that it will be 100 per cent correct. But that's not the case. Technology can also go wrong.

"Besides, machines are not playing the game. It's humans who are playing and you have to retain that human element," he said.