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Page last updated at 12:10 GMT, Monday, 30 March 2009 13:10 UK

Bucknor received racist letters

Steve Bucknor
Bucknor accepts the plaudits after retiring at Barbados's Kensington Oval

Former Test cricket umpire Steve Bucknor has revealed he was the victim of racist abuse earlier in his career.

The Jamaican, 62, retired as an elite umpire on Sunday after standing in 128 Tests and 181 one-day internationals.

He told BBC's Test Match Special: "Nobody made me feel black on the field but I did get a letter in London saying 'you black b******' or 'you n*****'.

"You don't want to talk about it but people write these things. You have to let these things lie. I grew up tough."

Bucknor, who grew up in poverty, added in a wide-ranging interview with the BBC's Kevin Howells: "I have no fears in talking about what I went through as a youngster.

"They were very, very tough times. I had one pair of shoes to go to school in, to go to church, to go anywhere. I didn't eat until I got home in the evenings."

He also said that although many people had tried to persuade him to continue his career, he felt he had reached a natural time to retire.

"There are some who would want me to stay around, my body feels good but 63 ought to be the cut-off age. I have seen people go beyond that age and have suffered because of their inability to see properly, hear properly. I am pretty close to that age now."


Bucknor, who stands an imposing 6ft 3in, had a distinctive way of delaying his decisions, a mannerism that earned him the nickname "Slow Death".

He stood in five World Cup finals, the last of those in Barbados, which was also the venue of his final match - an England win against West Indies.

A former football referee, he once officiated in a World Cup qualifier.

And despite retirement from cricket, he is likely to remain busy in other fields, particularly athletics. He is being invited to work in development programmes in Jamaica, and serve as a track official.

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see also
Retiring umpire Bucknor praised
23 Mar 09 |  Cricket
Umpire Bucknor upset by Test axe
15 Jan 08 |  Cricket
Bucknor unsettled by death threat
30 Jan 05 |  Cricket
Support grows for umpire Bucknor
09 Jan 08 |  Cricket
Bucknor unfazed by 100 Test mark
14 Mar 05 |  International Teams
Bucknor equals record
01 May 02 |  Cricket

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