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Bucknor's career not over: Speed

cricket Updated: Jan 08, 2008 17:28 IST

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Despite widespread calls for Steve Bucknor to retire, the International Cricket Council (ICC) has backed the West Indian to complete his term as an Elite Panel umpire, which ends in 2011.

ICC Chief Executive Malcolm Speed admitted that Bucknor had a poor Test match in Sydney, where he made several crucial mistakes, but rejected suggestions that the Jamaican will not umpire again in a Test following his removal from the third India-Australia Test in Perth.

"I expect that Steve will continue as an ICC elite panel umpire," Speed said.

"He's coming to the end of his career and it's been a very illustrious career with lots of high-profile matches. What we're seeking to do here is to take some tension out of the situation," he said.

India had asked ICC to replace Bucknor for the Perth Test after India lost the ill-tempered match in Sydney by 122 runs to go down 0-2 in the series.

Several former cricketers and experts had asked for his removal, saying his eyesight and reflexes were not good enough to stand scrutiny.

Speed hinted that Bucknor agreed sitting down from the third Test was the best option.

"Steve's continued presence had become an issue. Steve accepts that in order for us to move forward this is the best course," the ICC CEO was quoted as saying in media reports.

"Steve accepts that in the interests of the game and this Test match, it's better if another umpire is substituted for him," he said.

Bucknor will be replaced by New Zealand's Billy Bowden, who will officiate in Perth with Pakistan's Asad Rauf.

Speed found parallels with the events at The Oval in 2006, when Pakistan forfeited a Test to England after walking off in protest at umpire Darrell Hair's ball tampering ruling.

Hair remains on the ICC elite panel, but has not umpired in a Test since.