The likes of David Shephard, Simon Taufel, Steve Bucknor, Kumara Dharmasena and Aleem Dar have been among the most prominent umpires in modern-day cricket. However, one umpire, in particular, has gathered the most attention and is loved by fans worldwide - Billy Bowden. Billy Bowden carved a name for himself among the fans due to his unique action while giving decisions on the field. On Saturday, the former New Zealand umpire celebrated his 57th birthday with, ICC and cricket fans taking to social media to wish the man who was known for his 'crooked finger'.
Happy birthday to one of cricket's most beloved umpires – Billy Bowden 🎂 pic.twitter.com/TQ7ied0Qim— ICC (@ICC) April 11, 2020
Happy birthday to the most funniest and cutest umpire ever,— Virat kohli (@KohliFanteam) April 11, 2020
Even his wrong decision also acceptable in front of his smile and cuteness 😍
Hay hay. You missed this one 😜😜 pic.twitter.com/5ewj1WYoYO— Rainaparthiii3 (@Rainaparthiii3) April 11, 2020
One of just two umpires to stand in 200+ ODIs, he's best known for his unique signals including the dreaded crooked finger of doom! Happy birthday Billy Bowden!#Cricket #Umpire— Akshay Tadvi🇮🇳 (@imAkshaytadvi) April 11, 2020
Follow @imAkshaytadvi ✔✔ pic.twitter.com/7W6y1OFEGL
The reason behind the Billy Bowden fingers raising in crooked fashion during dismissals was that Billy Bowden fingers were affected by Rheumatoid Arthritis, which ended his playing career. After his playing days were gone, Billy Bowden became an umpire in an effort to be involved with the game he so dearly loved. The pain caused by arthritis did not allow Bowden to lift his index finger straight above the head and that is how the "crooked finger of doom" was born.
While the Billy Bowden retired news is yet to be made official, back in 2016 the umpire was axed from New Zealand Cricket's international panel. He was dropped from the International Cricket Council's elite panel in 2013, returned in 2014, but was omitted again after umpiring the test between the West Indies and England in Barbados in May 2015. Bowden umpired his 200th one-day international when New Zealand played Australia in Wellington in February. The 53-year-old Bowden, who officiated in 84 tests and 200 one-day internationals over 21 years, was known for his eccentric signals, especially the crooked finger with which he indicated dismissals.