We've gone on record before about Billy Bowden's irritating and incompetent umpiring. The crux of our argument being that Billy is the antithesis of a good umpire in that they should neither be seen nor heard.
With Billy, it is essentially all about Billy. Whether it is his silly hand gestures and signals or consistently irrational decision making, Bowden invariably becomes a major talking point of the day's play.
However, yesterday in Abu Dhabi, with Billy sidelined in the role of video umpire and England turning what should have been a straightforward pursuit of 145 into an attempt to scale Everest without oxygen, sherpas or any discernable plan, the last person we expected to hear about was Bowden.
But when the on-field umpires referred what appeared to be a simple appeal for a bat-pad catch at short-leg by Azhar Ali, Billy grabbed his opportunity to seize the spotlight.
Everyone else watching - English, Pakistani and neutral alike - saw that the catch had been taken cleanly and that Andrew Strauss was out, but not Billy. Oh no, not Billy.
Despite viewing the replay more times then he probably caresses and kisses a framed bedside picture of himself signalling a six every morning, Bowden inexplicably adjudged that the evidence was not clear and that Strauss should be reprieved.
In that moment Billy achieved what we thought was impossible and proved that he is an even worse umpire off the field than he is on it. It takes an especially unique character to make the case for DRS when he is on the field of play and then to make the contrary argument against it when he is esconsed in the video umpire's chair. But Billy did just that.
It was going to take something especially cretinous to outmanouvere England's batsmen as the biggest clown in Abu Dhabi yesterday, but good old Billy pulled it off with typically inept aplomb and consequently achieved the impossible not once, but twice in the same afternoon.
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