Dubai:The ICC paid glowing tribute to its Elite Panel umpire Steve Bucknor, who officiated at his last Test match between Australia and South Africa in Cape Town and will be retiring from One-Day cricket later this month.
Bucknor, who is the most experienced umpire in the longest version of cricket, earlier announced his retirement, saying that the two upcoming ODIs between West Indies and England in Barbadose on March 27 and 29 will be his last assignments.
The cricketers and officials formed a guard of honour for the 62-year-old Jamaican when play resumed after the tea break on the fourth day of the Test on Sunday, which eventually turned out to be the final day of the match.
After the fall of last wicket, Bucknor lingered briefly in the middle of the ground to pray and then embarked on a final lap of the ground.
"Steve's is a career that has embraced so much and deserves to be celebrated. His record of five consecutive ICC Cricket World Cup finals will not, I contend, be overtaken and he will retire as the umpire to have officiated in the most Test matches and the first to break the 100 Test mark," ICC Chief Executive Haroon Lorgat said.
"Steve's talents will be sorely missed on the Emirates Elite Panel of ICC Umpires and he will be leaving a void in the game when he departs. I wish him well in his retirement from the game and every success in the future," ICC General Manager (Cricket) and former South Africa wicketkeeper David Richardson said.
Lorgat handed over a painting, depicting different faces that the cricket fraternity have come to know him over the years, at a brief ceremony on the third day of the match.
"With his hard-working attitude Steve has been a credit to cricket. We all have to go at sometime and now it is Steve's time but I hope he continues to work within cricket.
"It will be a loss to the game if he doesn't continue in some capacity with cricket and I hope that the West Indies Cricket Board will look to use his knowledge and experience when it comes to training and coaching new umpires," Chairman of ICC Cricket Committee Clive Lloyd said.
Former cricketers have also praised Bucknor who started umpiring at international level in 1989 and since then officiated at five consecutive ICC Cricket World Cup finals, an ICC release said.
"I always respected his decision-making, man-management skills and, above all, his humble and friendly attitude," said ex-Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul-Haq, while former England skipper Alec Stewart said: "I hold Steve up there along with David Shepherd as one of the umpiring greats of my era."