Bucknor was sold out by ICC

By ADAM HICKS sport@northernstar.com.au THE International Cricket Council sold out one of the world's best umpires when they buckled to India's demands, according to a local umpire boss.

Far North Coast Cricket Umpires and Scorers Association president Charlie Stewart said the ICC's decision to stand down Steve Bucknor from next week's third Test in Perth was weak.

"I personally believe the players are having too much say in being able to pick an umpire," Stewart said.

"Teams should not be able to pick their umpire, countries should not be able to say 'we don't like that bloke, we don't want him'.

"They (ICC) should have stood behind him and pointed out to him the mistakes."

Earlier in the week, the Indian cricket team suspended their tour of Australia after they lost the second Test in which several controversial decisions went against them.

The team's management publicly called for Bucknor to be dropped from the tour's remaining two matches.

"He (Bucknor) is still up there with the best of them, he'd have to be in the top five," Stewart said.

"That was one of the worst games I've seen him do but Ricky Ponting hasn't made (many runs) so should he be dropped? I don't think so.

"Bucknor was hard done by. "He made some mistakes when you look at them on replays but when you're standing out there in the middle you've only got a few seconds to handle an appeal.

"Umpires are open to human error and they do their best and that's a lot better than what a lot of others could do."

But Stewart does not believe the way forward is to let umpires use the technology utilised by Channel Nine's commentary crew.

"I reckon take away the third umpire, take away replays and let the game go back to how it was," he said.

"When we didn't have any of these (technologies) there was none of this carrying on.

"What's the first thing a player does with an appeal? They look to the replay to see what happened and it does put unwanted pressure on the umpire."

Stewart also believes the Hawkeye device, used to judge LBW appeals, is flawed.

"There are too many variables out there in the middle," he said.

"If the pitch is soft, or it hits a crack or dirt, it can't pick it. "It's too unpredictable.

"I've got no doubts about it. "Go and stand out in the middle for a few days and see. "I don't think it can be that accurate."

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