The 2008 Sydney Test between touring India and Australia become infamous for poor umpiring decisions and “monkeygate”.
Former umpire Steve Bucknor, who stood in the match along with Mark Benson, has now admitted that his two mistakes may have cost India the match.
Reflecting on his career and the mistakes in a career spanning 20 years, Steve Bucknor in an Interview with the Mid day admitted, “I made two mistakes in the Sydney Test in 2008.
Mistake one, which happened when India was doing well, allowed an Australian batsman to get a hundred. Mistake two, on Day Five, might have cost India the game. But still, they are two mistakes over five days.”
Bucknor, who officiated in 309 international matches, admitted that the mistakes still haunt him.
“Was I the first umpire to make two mistakes in a Test? Still, those two mistakes seem to have haunted me,”Steve Bucknor said.
Of the two mistakes, first refers to Andrew Symonds and the second probably of Rahul Dravid on the fifth day of the Test.
With Australia 193/6 Andrew Symonds, batting on 30, edged on off Ishant Sharma to MS Dhoni. Umpire Steve Bucknor turned down the appeal, although later the edge appeared on the Snicko. Andrew Symonds went on to score an unbeaten 162 and take Australian tally to 463.
On the fifth day, chasing 333 in 72 overs, India were 115/3 aiming for a draw when a ball from Andrew Symonds appeared to have been edged by Rahul Dravid, who had tucked his bat behind his pad. Steve Bucknor ruled Dravid caught behind. But later replays confirmed the ball had flicked Dravid’s front knee roll on the way. Eventually, India lost the match and the hosts earned a 2-0 lead in 4 Test match Border-Gavaskar Trophy.
‘Need to know why mistakes are made’
Bucknor without giving excuse for the mistakes said one needs know to why mistakes are made.
“You need to know why mistakes are made. You don’t want to make similar mistakes again. I am not giving excuses but there are times when the wind is blowing down the pitch and the sound travels with the wind. The commentators hear the nick from the stump mic but the umpires may not be sure. These are things spectators won’t know,”said Steve Bucknor.
The infamous decisions in the Test marred Bucknor’s record and also resulted in his removal from the Third Test in Perth, which India won.
The 74-year-old also reflected back on 1992 World Cup and how it helped him establish himself.
“I stood in only four Tests and three ODIs before that. And I was the only umpire from the Caribbean at that World Cup,” Steve Bucknor said.
“So I didn’t know if I was good enough to be there. During the tournament, I was told I was doing very well. The captains had good things to say. My aim was to be among the six umpires for the semi-finals.
I would have been happy to even be a reserve umpire. I stood in the New Zealand versus Pakistan semi-final in Auckland. And after the match I was told, ‘Bucknor, you’re doing the final.'”
Steve Bucknor had in 2009 after an ODI between West Indies and England at Barbados.