Brent Fraser “Billy” Bowden (born 11 April 1963) is an international cricket umpire from New Zealand. He was a player until he began to suffer from rheumatoid arthritis and took up umpiring. He is well known for his dramatic signalling style which includes “crooked finger of doom” out signal.
1. The ‘crooked finger’ comes due to Arthritis:
Billy Bowden had a promising career as a fast bowler in his 20s when he was affected by Rheumatoid Arthritis which ended his playing career.Bowden turned to umpiring in an effort to be involved with the game he so dearly loved. The pain caused by arthritis was too severe for Bowden to lift his index finger raised above the head, and this led to the “crooked finger of doom” which is now popular all over the cricketing world.
2. Unique way of signalling as an umpire:
Bowden has carved a niche for himself as an umpire with his entertaining and sometimes over-the-top way of signalling boundaries, referrals to the third umpire among other things.Bowden’s signals vary with the formats. He is more orthodox in Tests, a little enthusiastic in ODIs and at his flamboyat best in T20 games. There have been some suggestions that Bowden needs to do the signals in the way he does because of his arthritis, as he needs to keep his body fluid.
3. Officiated in the first ever T20 International:
Billy Bowden, along with Tony Hill, officiated in the first ever T20 International between Australia and New Zealand at Eden Park, Auckland in 2005.
4. Second youngest to officiate in 100 ODIs:
Billy Bowden is the second youngest, behind only Australian Simon Taufel, to officiate in a 100 One Day Internationals.Bowden is one of the only 7 umpires who have stood in a 100 ODIs or more thereby becoming recipients of the ICC Bronze Bails award.
5. First neutral umpires from the same country to officiate in a Test:
During the fourth and final Test match played between England at Pakistan at Lord’s in 2010, which is now infamous for spot-fixing by Pakistan players, Bowden and Tony Hill became the first neutral umpires from the same country to officiate in a Test.