Cricket World Cup 2011

Taufel benefits from Aus exit

2011-04-01 09:44
Lucky Australian Simon Taufel. (AFP)

Mumbai - Reigning champions Australia may not have made it through to the World Cup final but their failure has been good news for one Australian - umpire Simon Taufel.

The repeated success of his compatriots in winning three straight World Cup titles, in 1999, 2003 and 2007 denied the 40-year-old Taufel the chance to stand in a final, even though he has long been regarded as the world's best umpire.

That status was officially recognised by his being named the International Cricket Council's Umpire of the Year every year from 2004 to 2008.

"The Australian team's success in the World Cup over a long period of time has been to the detriment of Simon Taufel, who has never been able to officiate in a World Cup Final," said Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland.

"It's fantastic to see him get this opportunity."

Taufel was once a promising seam bowler in junior cricket in his native New South Wales, and played alongside the likes of future Australia Test batsman Michael Slater.

But a back injury cut short his career and he decided to take up umpiring, making his first-class debut at the exceptionally early age of 24.

Just four years later he was standing in his first one-day international, and 2003 saw him officiating at his first World Cup.

Taufel, who radiates calm in the middle, quickly won the respect of the world's top players for the accuracy of his decision-making.

He rarely makes an obvious mistake of the kind the television Decision Review System was created to overturn.

His skill was evident during India's 29-run semi-final win over Pakistan in Mohali on Wednesday, when he gave a couple of lbw decisions in favour of Pakistan left-arm quick Wahab Riaz.

India reviewed both decisions, but replays found Taufel had been right on both occasions.

Standing alongside him on Saturday will be Aleem Dar.

The Pakistani's mild-mannered style helps explain the level of criticism directed at former Australia captain Ricky Ponting, who let fly at Dar during the Boxing Day Test against England in Melbourne after a third umpire decision went against the home side.

When Dar walks on the ground he looks skywards and says a prayer for his daughter who died while he was umpiring at the 2003 World Cup in South Africa. 


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