Dubai: New Zealander Billy Bowden joined the exclusive club of six umpires, who have officiated in 150 or more One-day international cricket matches when he stood in the Australia-England match in Melbourne last weekend.
Bowden (47) made his international debut on March 29, 1995 in a match between New Zealand and Sri Lanka in Hamilton and since then has gone on to become one of the game`s most recognisable officials, also standing in 65 Tests and 19 Twenty20 internationals so far.
"Wow! 150 ODIs. Where has the time gone?" said Bowden.
"Umpiring still gives me a buzz, even goose bumps, when I walk out to officiate an ODI. I have to pinch myself now and again to realise what a privilege it is to be part of such a wonderful game and to have the opportunity to challenge my skills at the international level.”
"To umpire the best players in the world and to stand with some of the best umpires in the world can`t get any better really," Bowden said in an ICC release.
A member of the Emirates Elite Panel of ICC Umpires since 2003, Bowden has been one of the top match officials in the game for many years and umpired at the ICC Cricket World Cups in 2003 and 2007.
"It`s a privilege to umpire at international level. It`s not always a bed of roses but to me a tough day on the field beats any good day at the office. 150 is only a number but in saying that, it`s a proud moment for me as a New Zealander and ICC cricket umpire.”
"To join five other international elite umpires to reach this milestone is hugely satisfying especially having lived with arthritis since 1986. I last umpired Australia versus England in a ODI back in 2005 at Lord`s where it ended in a tie so to have the opportunity to umpire my 150th ODI at the MCG with Australia versus England with a massive crowd is something very special," Bowden said.
Bowden said umpiring these days has become very professional and it`s imperative for the umpires that they don`t take the game for granted but instead look at ways to prepare themselves better for the challenges ahead.
"Umpiring is very professional now. Umpires should look at ways to plan and prepare to become mentally and physically stronger to handle the pressures and challenges we face in the modern game.”
"Since umpiring my first ODI back in 1995 the game has definitely changed. It is far more professional, the skills of the players have improved dramatically and with technology having a big part of the game it is now testing the skills of an umpire. Umpiring is not always a bed of roses but to me a tough day on the field beats any good day at the office," he said.
Other umpires in 150-ODI club: Rudi Koertzen (209); Steve Bucknor (181); David Shepherd (172); Daryl Harper (168), Simon Taufel (157).