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Home > Cricket > World Cup 2003 > News > Report

Experienced hands will control final

Faisal Shariff in Johannesburg | March 22, 2003 19:44 IST

David Shepherd

To stand in three World Cup finals out of the six you have officiated in is no mean feat. Still, David Robert Shepherd is as nervous as the players on the eve of Sunday's final. But the pressure, he believes, helps him focus better on the game.

Shepherd, famous for his hop and skip when the score reads 111 (or its multiples), has found a mass following in South Africa with announcements made at the ground on loud speakers (and through exhortations on the giant score-board) for people to lift their legs in the air at the Nelson score.

"I am a superstitious man and ever since my club days at Devon and then Gloucestershire I have been unable to shake the habit off. I am stuck with it till the end of my career," says Shepherd. He believes that missing the skip forces terrible things on him that he would much rather keep to himself.

Shepherd criticises the length of the World Cup, but hopes the best team wins. Shepherd maintains the final has seen the best teams in the competition vie for the title.

He is content he has seen the top players play well in this tournament and singles out Sachin Tendulkar as the man who gave him immense pleasure in this World Cup. "I was privileged to see two-three of his finest knocks and will treasure them forever."

Shepherd also holds the unique record of having stood in each World Cup game between India and Pakistan.

"It is always exciting to stand in these games and the excitement that is created off the field is much more than what it is on the field."

"I can't forget the way Javed Miandad jumped up and down imitating Kiran More. It is my most memorable moment of the World Cup."

 

Steve Bucknor:

He takes more time than the television umpires to raise the finger causing frustrating moments to batsmen, bowlers and the million people watching. And yet on Sunday he will take the field to stand in his fourth World Cup final -- more than any other umpire in history.

Having already broken the Test record as the longest serving umpire last June, Bucknor is a man who can raise his finger in the day and blow the whistle on the soccer field in the evening.

"My concentration levels are very high, I don't require a switchover," he says with the same calm that sees him handle the most volatile situations with ease.

The reason for that is that he has a slow heartbeat.

"My physical make-up helps me a lot in the middle. I don't get excited easily."

He uses his soccer experience to lower tempers in the middle by quickly throwing himself between the disputing parties.

Bucknor reckons his first World Cup final as the most special of his career.

"The tension was great and I was not an experienced international umpire. I had done only four one-day internationals and four Tests before the 1992 World Cup."

He will stand in his 34th World Cup game tomorrow and hopes the butterflies will settle once the first ball is bowled.

The one thing that riles Steve Bucknor is the fact that in his first World Cup final, he turned down a LBW appeal against Javed Miandad off England seamer Derek Pringle.

"Derek can't get over it till today. Maybe he should go and watch the replays again," says Bucknor.

Bucknor picked Herschelle Gibbs, Andy Bichel, Brett Lee and the Indian bowling trio of Javagal Srinath, Ashish Nehra and Zaheer Khan as the pick of the players for this World Cup.

"Sachin Tendulkar is number one," he says.

Chris Scott, Chief Groundsman at the Wanderers

Chris Scott, 54, started off at the Wanderers Golf club which is opposite the cricket ground when he was 20. The job just happened and was not a planned event. He enjoys the agricultural concept of being a groundsman. He feels that the best part of the job is that he gets to see a lot of matches. And he has watched a lot of matches in his 30 years at the ground.

"I am not a cricket purist and have never played competitive cricket at any level," he says.

Chris feels one-day internationals are more interesting as compared to Tests. �Five days for one match is too long,� he says. "Tests are boring. I enjoy one-day cricket."

But cricket is nowhere even close to being his favourite sport that honour goes to golf.

Considering that the preparations for the final were underway one would not have expected him to have had too much time for his hobby. But he managed to find some time over last weekend.

Preparing wickets is a passion, "It is an art you need to cultivate."

He has no formal training and all his knowledge has been acquired on the job.

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Sub: publish substance not matter!

Extremely poorly written article with little regard for flow or style. I'm not sure what the exact issue here is but to let this insipidity ...


Posted by Rohan Vyavaharkar




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