|Full name||Brent Fraser Bowden nzherald|
|Nickname(s)||Captain Hook, Mr. Slow Death|
|Famous for||His dramatic style of signal which includes the famous "crooked finger of doom" out signal|
|Physical Stats & More|
|Height (approx.)||in centimeters- 175 cm
in meters- 1.75 m
in feet & inches- 5’ 9”
|Hair Colour||Salt and Pepper|
|International Debut||ODI- 29 March 1995 New Zealand vs Sri Lanka at Hamilton
Test- 11 March 2000 New Zealand vs Australia at Auckland
T20- 17 February 2005 New Zealand vs Australia at Auckland
|Date of Birth||11 April 1963 (Thursday)|
|Age (as of 2022)||60 Years|
|Birthplace||Henderson, New Zealand|
|Hometown||Henderson, New Zealand|
|Relationships & More|
|Marriage Date||27 May 2006|
|Wife/Spouse||Jennifer Bowden (nutritionist)
|Children||Son- Fraser (from first wife)
Daughter- Brooke (from first wife)
Note: He has four children.
|Parents||Father- Marcus Bowden (church minister)|
|Siblings||He has a older brother.|
Some Lesser Known Facts About Billy Bowden
- Billy Bowden is a cricket umpire from New Zealand. He is known for his dramatic signal style, including the famous “crooked finger of doom” out sign.
- He and his older brother used to play cricket in their backyard when he was a child.
- He was a middle-order batsman and a handy off-spinner and captained his high-school team for three years. After passing out of school in 1982, he played four summer cricket seasons in Manchester where he broke the league’s batting record in his second season.
- He played for the Westlake Boys and then Takapuna Cricket Club. He wanted to wear the black cap and play for the country but was diagnosed with arthritis when he was 19. In an interview, he said that the disease affected one in six New Zealanders and over 700,000 were diagnosed. In Billy’s version of arthritis, his wrists, elbows, fingers and feet were affected and there was no cure for it. He felt like walking on broken glass, but with a careful diet, exercise, and medication, he managed to survive with it for 40 years.
- He started umpiring around 1989 and found it difficult to straighten his hands because his fingers would swell up so he gave players out with a crooked finger. He started using the ‘crooked finger of doom’ gesture because he was suffering from rheumatoid arthritis and it was too painful for him to use the conventional method of signalling a batsman out with a straight index finger raised above the head. Before every game, he used to dip his fingers in hot water to loosen his fingers but its effect would wear off after some time. Apart from the out gesture, he also added other unique signals, such as using a “crumb-sweeping” arm wave to indicate a four and a “double crooked finger six-phase hop” to indicate a six. His signalling style varied in different formats of the game, being normal in Tests, flashier in ODIs, and excited in Twenty20 matches. His behaviour attracted a lot of fans, but many people criticized him. Martin Crowe referred to him as Bozo the Clown and one of the critics said that the matches were for fans and players and not for umpire. There were many people who supported him and said that his unconventional style is due to his arthritis and the need to keep his body fluid. Apart from the catchy gestures while umpiring, he is famous for accurate decision-making.
- In an interview, he said that he came from a Christian background and his father was a minister for 65 years which helped him deal with the disease.
- In March 2000, he was appointed as an on-field umpire for his first test match.
- In 2002, he was included in the Emirates Panel of International Umpires. In 2002, he became the youngest to officiate 100 ODIs.
- In 2003, he was appointed to umpire at the Cricket World Cup in South Africa and was chosen to be the fourth umpire in the final between Australia and India. After this, he was promoted to the Emirates Elite Panel of ICC Umpires and was a member of the organization till 2013.
- In 2005, he waved a red card at Australian bowler Glenn McGrath even though it is not used in cricket. The Australian cricketers laughed at his showmanship but a survey of Australia’s cricketers in 2007 ranked Bowden as the worst Test umpire and former New Zealander Martin Crowe was also unimpressed with Bowden’s over-the-top umpiring.
- In 2006, he was involved in an incident at the Brisbane Ashes test while standing at the square leg fielding position, when knocked to the ground by a ball hit by Geraint Jones.
- During the 5th Test of the 2006-07 Ashes, Bowden stopped Paul Collingwood and Shane Warne when they were playing. Warne was batting while Collingwood from slips tried to break his concentration with a word but Bowden ran in from square leg to keep them away. During this time, he was going through a rough time and was imprecise with his decisions. In an interview, Warne talked about Billy and said,
Billy Bowden is inconsistent, which we saw at Headingley. I think Billy can be very good, but sometimes he gets a bit carried away.”
- In 2007, he was given the role of fourth umpire in the Cricket World Cup final.
- In 2007, he became the eighth umpire to chalk up 100 one-day international appearances.
- In 2010, during an Australia-West Indies one-dayer at Adelaide, Mitchell Johnson took a wicket, but to give the decision, Bowden moved across the stumps to let the batsmen cross over. He then came back to his mark and raised that crooked finger.
- In 2012, an incident occurred in the seventh ODI at The Gabba in Brisbane when MS Dhoni had a fight with the on-field umpires. In the match, Michael Hussey was out in the middle and Dhoni took the bails off so the third umpire Bruce Oxenford pressed the ‘Out’ button, but the on-field umpire Billy Bowden called Hussey back. This made Dhoni angry, who later vent out his anger on the umpires.
- In 2013, he was included in a list of five umpires to officiate during the Ashes series.
- In 2014, the International Cricket Council (ICC) announced him as the umpire and match referee for the warm-up and first-round matches in the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier 2014 in New Zealand.
- He was selected as one of the twenty umpires to stand in matches during the 2015 Cricket World Cup.
- On 6 February 2016, Bowden stood in his 200th One Day International match in the game between New Zealand and Australia in Wellington.
- Till 2016, he was a member of the International Panel of Umpires and Referees and was demoted to New Zealand’s national panel.
- In February 2016, he appeared in an ODI game between Australia and New Zealand and spent a lot of time in his second innings helping charitable trusts raise funds to help people suffering from arthritis. In his interviews, he says that arthritis was pretty kind to him, as he still was able to walk and talk like most commoners.
- In 2016, he was removed 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 removed again after umpiring the Test between the West Indies and England in Barbados in May 2015. He umpired his 200th ODI when New Zealand played Australia in Wellington in February 2016.
- On 24 December 2020, he was an umpire for the Dream 11 domestic T20 competition opening double-header between Wellington Firebirds and Auckland Aces for both men’s and women’s teams.
- In January 2023, he became the umpire in the Super Smash T20 women’s competition.
- He umpired the 2023 T20 Black Clash game between top-class cricketers and rugby players in Christchurch.
- When he used to impersonate the iconic “crumb-sweeping” wave of the arm to signal four, thousands of fans would stand up with him.
- He has umpired in over 259 ODIs, 104 Tests, and 32 T20Is over 25 years apart from many first-class matches and cricket tournaments.
- According to the Australian media, they never really liked him and questioned his gestures. In a statement by the media, they said,
Maybe he should think of having a word after an over or during a small break, rather than interrupting the flow.”
- He also appears in commercial advertisements and on many posters, he was featured with his famous “crooked finger of doom” out sign.
- In one of the incidents, Indian cricketer Suresh Raina mocked him by raising a finger in unison with Billy.
- In an interview, he talked about one of the critics who commented on him and said,
Umpires have their own characters and their own personalities. We’re not clones. We’re not paper cut-outs. It would be a boring place if we were all exactly the same. There’s no additives when you see me, no preservatives. It’s freshly squeezed. What you see is what you get.”
- He is a teetotaler, but he likes to drink a South African drink called Amarula.