He is generally known to all of you as the funniest umpire of cricket history. He is not only a good umpire but also a great entertainer. His name is Brent Fraser Bowden, mostly known to us as Billy Bowden. He was born in 11 April 1963 in New Zealand. Though he is a very familiar to us as a umpire, but Bowden’s career actually started as a cricket player. He was a player until he began to suffer from rheumatoid arthritis and took up umpiring. Bowden has become too much popular because of his dramatic signaling style which includes “crooked finger of doom” out signal.
Billy Bowden started his career as an international umpire in March 1995. He officiated his first One Day International between New Zealand and Sri Lanka at Hamilton.In March 2000 he was appointed his first Test match as an on-field umpire, and in 2002 he was included in the Emirates Panel of International Umpires.
Most of us are probably familiar with Bowden’s crooked finger signal for out. But have we ever thought why his finger is crook. It seems a funny thing to us mostly. But in reality, there is a sad incident behind Bowden’s crooked finger. Today we will know some funny and important facts of Billy Bowden which can make you amazed.
- Billy Bowden had a passion for cricket. He wanted to be a good cricketer. When he started his career as a fast bowler at the age of 20, at that time he was affected by Rheumatoid Arthritis which ended his playing career suddenly.
Then Bowden turned to umpiring in an effort to be involved with the game he so dearly loved. The pain caused by arthritis was too severe for Bowden to lift his index finger raised above the head, and this led to the “crooked finger of doom” which is now popular all over the cricketing world.
- Bowden has carved a niche for himself as an umpire with his entertaining and sometimes over-the-top way of signaling boundaries, referrals to the third umpire among other things. Bowden’s signals vary with the formats.
He is more orthodox in Tests, a little enthusiastic in ODIs and at his best in T20 games. There have been some suggestions that Bowden needs to do the signals in the way he does because of his arthritis, as he needs to keep his body fluid.
- Billy Bowden, along with Tony Hill, officiated in the first ever T20 International between Australia and New Zealand at Eden Park, Auckland in 2005. He is the second youngest, behind only Australian Simon Taufel, to officiate in a 100 One Day Internationals.
- Bowden is one of the only 7 umpires who have stood in a 100 ODIs or more thereby becoming recipients of the ICC Bronze Bails award. During the fourth and final Test match played between England at Pakistan at Lord’s in 2010, which is now infamous for spot-fixing by Pakistan players, Bowden and Tony Hill became the first neutral umpires from the same country to officiate in a Test.
- Billy Bowden has become popular also for showing a red card into two different cricket matches! Although there is no system of handing out cards to players like in football, Bowden has shown the red-card to cricketers on that occasions.
The first instance came in 2005 at the first ever T20 International between New Zealand and Australia at Eden Park, Auckland. Glenn McGrath tried to finish off the game by attempting to bowl an under-arm delivery and was promptly shown the red-card for his actions.
Afghanistan wicket-keeper Mohammad Shahzad too was shown a red-card by Bowden at the last Asia Cup for excessive appealing during a match against Bangladesh.