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Last Updated:  Friday, 21 March, 2003, 15:52 GMT
Shep completes Cup hat-trick
BBC Sport's Oliver Brett talks to umpire David Shepherd ahead of his third successive World Cup final.

David Shepherd exchanges opinions with the Australians
Shepherd has stood in 126 one-day internationals and 69 Tests since 1983
He scored 10, 672 runs during a 14-year playing career for Gloucestershire
Awarded an MBE in 1997
Q. David, it's your third World Cup Final. When you stood in your first in 1996 did you think you would be here seven years later?

A. Oh no, not for one moment. It's a great honour to be asked to do it for a third time.

Q. How much has the World Cup changed over the years?

A. In 1983 I stood in my first World Cup. I had only just started umpiring in those days. The first three tournaments were all held in England and we just used English umpires then but it's grown tremendously.

I think the first World Cup lasted about a fortnight whereas we are out here in South Africa and it's lasting eight weeks. So that's how much the game has grown worldwide.

Q. Steve Bucknor of the West Indies is also standing in his third World Cup final. The two of you must be very experienced at working with each other?

A. Yes, we have umpired a lot together. We know each other's habits. He's known as Mr Slow Death. He gives the nod and then the finger, but he's a great guy to work with.

Q. Is the final being played between the strongest two teams in the competition?

A. I think so. India and Australia have played the best cricket so they deserve to be there. I felt a bit for the West Indies, though. They were really knocked out by rain.

Umpire David Shepherd
Steve Bucknor ensures West Indies will be represented in the final
Q. Did you notice less buzz about the place once South Africa were knocked out?

A. I certainly did. There was a marked difference in the attitude of the whole country. Everything seemed to fall a lot flatter but I suppose that's understandable.

Q. Are you too experienced to get nervous before a big match?

A. Certainly not. I always get nervous and if I didn't I would feel there was something wrong. It's just like the players.

Q. Can you explain why you hop about when the score is 111?

A. I developed it really playing club cricket back in Devon.

I'm a bit of a superstitious character so I carried on doing it when I played for Gloucestershire - nobody noticed of course - and when I started umpiring I carried on doing it and I thought nobody would notice it but of course they did.

Q. What was it like having to take Waqar Younis out of the attack for bowling beamers in the Pakistan-Australia match?

A. We have regulations in cricket. A beamer is a lethal delivery and has no part in the game of cricket and it's up to umpires to see they aren't bowled.

If he bowls one he is warned. If he bowls another he has to be taken out of the attack. I was just going by the regulations though it was the first time I had had to do it.

Q. And finally, what will happen in the final?

A. Well they are two very strong sides and let's hope it's a strong final. It's not for me to say who will win the match. I just hope it's a great game of cricket.

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