Bangalore, Jan 7: Believe it or not....besieged West Indian Umpire Steve Bucknor has pocketed Rs 48,00,000(Fourty Eight Lakhs) -for just 34 days of officiating cricket.
The 61-year-old's wage , aflat rate paid by the International Cricket Council to its elite umpiring panel equates to about Rs 20,000 per hour on-field. As cricket's most experienced umpire fights to save his illustrious career, It is learned that Bucknor earned a six-figure salary in 2007 for the equivalent of just over a month's work. While Bucknor is a venerated figure in umpiring circles, a series of blunders has prompted critics to question whether he retains the sharp eye and concentration to remain a top-performing ICC official.
In a forgettable eight-month period, Bucknor:
-Was part of the umpiring squad that misinterpreted the rules regarding bad light at the World Cup in April, prompting the farcical finish to the final between Australia and Sri Lanka, which ended in darkness;
-Was subsequently suspended by the ICC for the Twenty20 World Championships in September;
-Delayed filling in his visa application in November, preventing him from taking his place for the first Test between Australia and Sri Lanka in Brisbane;
-Failed to give Australian centurion Andrew Symonds out to a regulation caught behind when he was 30 on day one of the second Test against India at the SCG;
-Failed to refer a stumping decision to third umpire Bruce Oxenford with Symonds on 148. Replays indicated the all-rounder's heel was raised and outside the crease.
In the wake of Bucknor's SCG gaffes, Indian cricket board vice-president Rajiv Shukla took the unprecedented step of ordering team management to lodge an official complaint with match referee Mike Procter.
Bucknor has previously indicated his desire to continue umpiring until 2011, by which time the veteran of a record 120 Tests will celebrate his 65th birthday.