While a cricket game is decided by the umpires, their jobs, though hard, can be pretty mundane as all the players grab the attention. Umpires are there to do their jobs and ensure that the game goes smoothly without any bad decisions.
That said, there have been a few names who have stood out in this aspect and managed to carve a name for themselves. One of cricket’s most popular umpires has to be the flamboyant Billy Bowden from New Zealand.
He has always been someone who hasn’t shied from the limelight and is loved all across the world for his antics. However, he has a very inspiring story that will surprise you:
Not a lot of people are aware of the fact that Billy Bowden’s actual name is Brent Fraser. The New Zealander was actually a very bright prospect who was expected to represent his country internationally as a spinner. He had good stats for his domestic team and was considered a decent bowler.
However, tragedy struck in the form of an autoimmune disease which meant that his fingers would remain crooked for the rest of his life. Any other normal person would have been devastated to have seen his dream shattered but Billy turned his weakness into his strength.
When Billy Bowden was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis, he would have understandably been upset that he couldn’t represent his country anymore. However, he did not let that deter him and put him away from his love for the game. He ended up becoming an umpire who made it to the Elite panel and represented them for years.
His style of raising a crooked finger, which was popularly known as the Crooked Finger of Doom whenever he gives someone out was very popular amongst fans. He is also known for being a very colourful character and a lot of players have spoken warmly about Bowden’s antics and personality on the field.
His other most popular style is the way in which he signals boundaries. For fours, he has a sweeping action that goes back and forth while for sixes, he raises his knee along with two crooked fingers to denote a massive one over the stands.
Billy Bowden has retired from cricket umpiring after a span of nearly 21 years. He officiated in 200 ODIs and 84 ODIs in total.