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Last Updated: Thursday, 12 May, 2005, 13:33 GMT 14:33 UK
Shepherd to bow out at the top
David Shepherd will retire from cricket umpiring at the end of the season.

He spoke to BBC Sport about his career and his views on umpiring in the 21st century.

What does it feel like to be retiring?

David Shepherd
Shepherd has been an umpire since 1981
It's not sunk in yet. Cricket has been my life. I've played the game and I've umpired it as well. I've had a wonderful time and a wonderful career and I've enjoyed it.

You have your ups and downs like any job but when you're doing the job you love can any day be a bad day?

What are you going to do in your retirement?

Everyone keeps asking me this and I'm not too sure yet. I live by the sea in Devon and there is a nice cricket ground there and I support the locals.

I shall hope to play a little bit of golf but I'd also like to put something back into the game, although I'm not quite sure what yet.

Did you prefer playing cricket or being an umpire?

I don't think you can beat playing. You're part of a team and for the whole season you live in and out of each others pockets.

Did you think your umpiring career would last so long?

I never dreamed it would last for 20-odd years. When I came to end my playing career I didn't know what to do.

I had a background in teaching but did not fancy that so I thought I would try and stay in the game and umpiring was the best option.

What are your favourite umpiring memories?

My first Test was with Dickie Bird for England v Australia at Old Trafford in 1985 so I remember that well and I've also done some great one-day matches, including three World Cup finals.

I have travelled the world and gone to places I never dreamed of.

Became an umpire in 1981
Has umpired 92 Test matches
Has umpired 167 ODIs
What was your biggest cricketing controversy?

We all have controversies and my worst was the England v Pakistan Test at Old Trafford in 2001. I gave three England batsmen out off no-balls.

I try not to think about it, even now. That was a low-point and I came close to quitting. I'd let myself down, the players and the game itself down. It was very disappointing.

What do you think about technology that has come into cricket?

Technology, like for run-outs, has helped a lot. I believe in technology as long as it's practical. There is no use if it's going to take five minutes to make a decision.

Players should get correct decisions and the game itself deserves correct decisions and if technology can help out, I have no problem with that.

Hawkeye is being used by television regarding lbw decisions but although it is good entertainment for the viewers I do not believe it is foolproof yet to be used by umpires.

Are players less gentlemanly than they used to be?

The game has changed and players are less honest. You don't get help from the players like you used to. When I used to play and then when I started umpiring in the 1980s, If you were out, you walked.

There aren't many walkers now but I have a feeling the spirit might come back into the game. Australia's Adam Gilchrist has been leading the way in this regard and he could set a trend.

What does it take to be an umpire?

I think it's important to have played the game because you know what the players are going through and you can speak the same language as them. We expect players to respect the white coat and in return we respect them.

What aspect of umpiring would you like to change?

I think umpires should be allowed to umpire in their own country. We have got some very talented umpires, like Peter Willey, who have turned down the chance of working on the Elite Panel because of family commitments.

What are you going to miss most?

I will miss the camaraderie because it is marvellous between the players.

What does your partner Jenny think of you retiring?

Well she used to joke that I'd come home for a holiday when I had time off between matches. I suspect I will get under her feet when I retire and drive her mad!

Interview by Anna Thompson

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