Ah, it must be tough being a tabloid reporter in the silly season.
My best wishes to the Urbans on their future bundle of joy. Meanwhile, I feel a deep sorrow for Steve Bucknor. He's done nothing more heinous than have an off day (well, an off five days in fact).
As I put it in an email to someone yesterday, Bucknor's performance in the Second Test was akin to a batsman scoring 0 and 1. Do you drop him or do you give him another chance? (Hello, Michael Clarke.) What if he fails for two Tests in a row? (Hello, Yuvraj Singh.)
I would have given Bucknor one last chance to redeem himself at the WACA. I would be very, very surprised if he didn't lift his game. He has been a successful and highly respected umpire over a long period of time, and yes he missed his cue by not retiring at last year's World Cup. But it would be dreadful to think that this event would be the end of his career.
Somewhere in this whole hysterical mess, there had to be compromise and sacrifices to be made. With great reluctance, I believe the ICC did the right thing in the circumstances by replacing Bucknor with Billy Bowden for the Third Test. (Never mind the spin doctoring evident in the title of their press release, "ICC takes practical steps ahead of the Third Test between Australia and India".)
But how to stop this inappropriate vilification of umpires from happening again and again? Raising the standard is one part of the solution. A reality check by the rabble-rousers is another.
The best thing now for Steve Bucknor would be to get an umpiting gig in the Carib Beer Cup, the West Indian regional first-class competition, and bounce back to international cricket as soon as possible.
Rick, Do you seriously
Hope rather than expectation
Training of Umpires
Highly paid umpires
More power to the third umpire?
I think I hope Bucknor will