Friday 27 April 2007 

ICC Announces Officials For ICC Cricket World Cup Final

The ICC today announced the match referee and umpire appointments for the ICC Cricket World Cup final between Australia and Sri Lanka that will take place at the Kensington Oval in Barbados on Saturday 28 April.

The on-field officials will be Steve Bucknor from Jamaica and Aleem Dar from Pakistan, the third umpire will be Rudi Koertzen of South Africa, the fourth umpire is New Zealander Brent Bowden and the ICC match referee will be former New Zealand captain Jeff Crowe.

The officials for the tournament have been sponsored by Mumbai-headquartered real estate and construction giant HDIL, the same organization that sponsored the umpires and match referees at the ICC Champions Trophy in India last year.

Bucknor, 60, will be making an unprecedented fifth successive appearance in an ICC Cricket World Cup final, having stood in the last match of the 1992, 1996, 1999 and 2003 tournaments.

The only officials who come close to that mark are Harold “Dickie” Bird (1975, 1979 and 1983) and David Shepherd (1996, 1999 and 2003), who both stood in three finals.

Shepherd officiated with Bucknor in the 1996, 1999 and 2003 deciders but his retirement in 2005 meant there was always going to be at least one official standing in Saturday’s match who was new to the final and 38 year-old Aleem Dar has been given that honour.

Television official Koertzen, 58, passed Shepherd’s record for on-field ODI umpiring appearances earlier in the tournament. Koertzen has now stood in 174 matches compared to Shepherd’s previous mark of 172 and on Saturday will fill the role he also undertook in the 2003 ICC Cricket World Cup final when Australia defeated India in Johannesburg.

44 year-old Bowden of New Zealand completes an umpiring team full of experience with the four men between them having stood in the middle in 537 ODIs.

Reflecting on his appointment, Steve Bucknor said: “It is a dream come true.

“I was happy knowing I was umpiring in a Cricket World Cup in the Caribbean and now being asked to stand in the final again makes it even more special.

“Just because the final is taking place here (in the Caribbean) does not mean it is any extra pressure for me than, say, my third or fourth finals, for example. Each game has its pressures and you have to deal with that.

“As for preparations, it will be business as usual,” he said on Thursday evening. “I will go for a jog around the savannah to get myself ready, as I always do when I am here in Barbados.”

While Bucknor is a veteran when it comes to ICC Cricket World Cup finals, it will be a new experience for Aleem Dar, who echoed his colleague’s excitement at the prospect of being involved on Saturday when he said: “It is a dream come true for me too.

“Everyone can have their dreams and I am just very glad that I have been selected for this match which should be a very good one between the two top teams.

“I have always worked well together with Steve, he is a great umpire and we have a good understanding, and so that should be a great help to me on Saturday.

“There is no doubt that it is a big match, the biggest, but I will look to treat it as I would any other match and just look to do my job the best I can.”

The man at the head of the playing control team, Jeff Crowe, played in two ICC Cricket World Cups, in 1983 and 1987, captaining the Black Caps in the latter campaign in India and Pakistan. In total, he led his country in six Tests and 16 ODIs, part of an international career that featured 39 Tests and 75 ODIs between 1983 and 1990.

Crowe said: “This will be another great experience that cricket has given me and it is a huge honour to be chosen as head of the playing control team for this match.

“I was lucky enough to play in two World Cups but I never played in a final and so this is a great way to be involved, it is what it is all about.

“When the World Cup was on the horizon, I set myself a goal to be involved in the final if New Zealand was not playing. With my patriotic hat on I would have loved it if the Black Caps had reached this stage but the fact they have not has given me a fantastic opportunity and I am delighted and proud to represent the ICC and New Zealand and work with the four umpires on one of cricket’s great occasions.”

Sri Lanka’s Ranjan Madugalle, the ICC’s head match referee and the person who filled the role taken on by Crowe this weekend in the previous two finals, was not considered for the position given Sri Lanka’s qualification for the final this time around.

Crowe becomes only the fourth man to act as ICC match referee in the ICC Cricket World Cup final after Peter Burge of Australia (1992), former West Indies captain Clive Lloyd (1996) and Madugalle (1999 and 2003).

The officials for the final were announced by the tournament Technical Committee, which is chaired by David Richardson, the ICC General Manager – Cricket and ICC’s representative in the group. The other members of the committee are Campbell Jamieson (IDI representative), former international captains Michael Atherton and Rameez Raja (both independent nominations), Chris Dehring (Managing Director and CEO of the ICC CWC 2007) and Michael Hall (ICC CWC 2007 Cricket Operations Director).

The match is the last of the ninth ICC Cricket World Cup with Australia seeking an unprecedented third successive title after previous wins in 1999 and 2003; Sri Lanka is the last team to hold the ICC Cricket World Cup before Australia, securing it in 1996. Australia also won the title in 1987.

Most on-field umpiring appearances in an ICC Cricket World Cup final (as of 26 April):

Steve Bucknor 4 (1992, 1996, 1999, 2003)
David Shepherd 3 (1996, 1999, 2003)
Harold Bird 3 (1975, 1979, 1983)
Barrie Meyer 2 (1979, 1983)
Brian Aldridge 1 (1992)
RB Gupta 1 (1987)
Mahboob Shah 1 (1987)
Tom Spencer 1 (1975)