Dubai, Jan 18 (PTI) New Zealander Billy Bowden joined theexclusive club of six umpires, who have officiated in 150 ormore One-day international cricket matches when he stood inthe Australia-England match in Melbourne last weekend.
Bowden (47) made his international debut on March 29, 1995in a match between New Zealand and Sri Lanka in Hamilton andsince then has gone on to become one of the game''s mostrecognisable officials, also standing in 65 Tests and 19Twenty20 internationals so far.
"Wow! 150 ODIs. Where has the time gone?" said Bowden.
"Umpiring still gives me a buzz, even goose bumps, when Iwalk out to officiate an ODI. I have to pinch myself now andagain to realise what a privilege it is to be part of such awonderful game and to have the opportunity to challenge myskills at the international level.
"To umpire the best players in the world and to standwith some of the best umpires in the world can''t get anybetter really," Bowden said in an ICC release.
A member of the Emirates Elite Panel of ICC Umpires since2003, Bowden has been one of the top match officials in thegame for many years and umpired at the ICC Cricket World Cupsin 2003 and 2007.
"It''s a privilege to umpire at international level. It''snot always a bed of roses but to me a tough day on the fieldbeats any good day at the office. 150 is only a number but insaying that, it''s a proud moment for me as a New Zealander andICC cricket umpire.
"To join five other international elite umpires to reachthis milestone is hugely satisfying especially having livedwith arthritis since 1986. I last umpired Australia versusEngland in a ODI back in 2005 at Lord''s where it ended in atie so to have the opportunity to umpire my 150th ODI at theMCG with Australia versus England with a massive crowd issomething very special," Bowden said.
Bowden said umpiring these days has become veryprofessional and it''s imperative for the umpires that theydon''t take the game for granted but instead look at ways toprepare themselevs better for the challenges ahead.
"Umpiring is very professional now. Umpires should lookat ways to plan and prepare to become mentally and physicallystronger to handle the pressures and challenges we face in themodern game.
"Since umpiring my first ODI back in 1995 the game hasdefinitely changed. It is far more professional, the skills ofthe players have improved dramatically and with technologyhaving a big part of the game it is now testing the skills ofan umpire. Umpiring is not always a bed of roses but to me atough day on the field beats any good day at the office," hesaid.
Other umpires in 150-ODI club: Rudi Koertzen (209); SteveBucknor (181); David Shepherd (172); Daryl Harper (168), SimonTaufel (157).