Billy Bowden back on elite panel

Dubai: New Zealand`s Billy Bowden was restored to the International Cricket Council`s elite panel of umpires on Thursday just a year after being dropped from the list.

Bowden, best known for his `crooked` finger method of dismissal, had been on the panel for a decade but was dropped after officials deemed he`d fallen below the required standard.

However, following the retirement of his compatriot Tony Hill to coach New Zealand`s umpires, Bowden has rejoined the 12-strong group of elite officials, with the new list taking effect from July 1.

"Billy`s return to the elite panel is a result of his hard work and perseverance," said ICC umpires manager Geoff Allardice in a statement issued by the global governing body.

"His skills and experience will further strengthen the ICC umpiring team."

Bowden has umpired in 76 Test matches, 189 one-day internationals and 21 T20 internationals.

He joins a list where eight of the officials are from either England or Australia, both countries supplying four umpires each in Ian Gould, Richard Illingworth, Richard Kettleborough and Nigel Llong (England) and Steve Davis, Bruce Oxenford, Paul Reiffel and Rod Tucker (Australia).

Bowden, Pakistan`s Aleem Dar, Sri Lanka`s Kumar Dharmasena and South Africa`s Marais Erasmus complete a list which again does not feature any umpires from India or the West Indies, two of cricket`s leading nations.

Umpires on the elite list are between them supposed to take charge of all Tests during the year, although they are barred from standing in matches involving their own country.

The combination of an Anglo-Australian dominated panel and back-to-back Ashes series led to Bowden being called up to stand with Erasmus during the third Test between England and Australia in Perth during the 2013/14 season.
ICC elite panel of umpires 2014-15

Aleem Dar (PAK), Billy Bowden (NZL), Kumar Dharmasena (SRI), Steve Davis (AUS), Marais Erasmus (RSA), Ian Gould (ENG), Richard Illingworth (ENG), Richard Kettleborough (ENG), Nigel Llong (ENG), Bruce Oxenford (AUS), Paul Reiffel (AUS), Rod Tucker (AUS)

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