WICB questions Bucknor sacking

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New Delhi, Jan 9 (UNI) The West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) has come out in full support for umpire Steve Bucknor and dubbed the decision to drop him for the third Test as ''extreme''.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) dropped Jamaican for the third Test starting in Perth. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has asked for removal following a series of umpiring errors in the second Test at Sydney, which ultimately the visitors lost by 122 runs.

''On the surface, the ICC's reaction in this particular instance seems to be extreme.

''A dangerous precedent may have been set by the ICC,'' West Indies board president Julian Hunte said in a letter to ICC president Ray Mali, which is published in the board's Web site.

Hunte referred to the ICC's reaction in 2005 when the West Indies, on tour of Australia, lodged a formal protest about the sub-standard umpiring.

''The ICC's reaction by CEO Dave Richardson was to acknowledge that errors were made but to insist that 'the overall standard of umpiring has improved in recent years, particularly with the advent of the elite panel.' ''It would be interesting to know what made this situation any different,'' Dr Hunte commented.

He also said both New Zealand's Billy Bowden, who will replace Bucknor, and Procter also officiated in that series.

The West Indies board has sought more information on the Bucknor issue, including communication between the umpire and ICC, to decide on any future action.

The 61-year-old Bucknor, is the most experienced umpire in international cricket arena, having stood in a record 120 tests and five one-day World Cup finals.

However, Hunte stressed ''There is no question that even the best umpires make mistakes.

''They are human and there are circumstances which may affect their judgment. What worries us is whether the action of the ICC in the case of Mr. Bucknor might create even more problems for the ICC and International Cricket down the line.'' UNI XC TB BD2141

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