On This Day in 1996: Dickie Bird announces retirement from umpiring

PA Sport Staff
·1-min read

One of cricket’s favourite figures announced his impending retirement 25 years ago on January 12.

Dickie Bird had become the sport’s most famous and well-loved umpire during a 23-year officiating career, renowned for his Yorkshire humour and eccentricities.

At the age of 62, Bird decided it was time to bring an end to his international career, announcing his final match would be the second Test against India at Lord’s later that summer.

Dickie Bird with a cast of the sculpture that was erected of him in Barnsley
Dickie Bird with a cast of the sculpture that was erected of him in Barnsley (Anna Gowthorpe/PA)

At the instigation of England captain Michael Atherton, an emotional Bird was given a guard of honour from both teams as he walked out onto the pitch.

That did not stop him giving Atherton out leg before wicket for a duck in the first over of the match.

Bird began his cricketing career as a batsman for Yorkshire and Leicestershire, making 93 appearances and scoring two centuries.

A knee injury caused him to retire at 32 and six years later he officiated in his first county game before taking charge of a maiden Test match in 1973 between England and New Zealand at Headingley.

Dickie Bird and Yorkshire captain Andrew Gale lift the County Championship trophy in 2015
Bird and Yorkshire captain Andrew Gale lift the County Championship trophy in 2015 (Anthony Devlin/PA)

Overall, he umpired in 66 Tests – a world record at the time – and 69 one-day internationals, including three World Cup finals.

He continued to umpire at county level for another two years until 1998 and has remained a popular figure in retirement.

A statue of Bird was erected in his home town of Barnsley in 2009 while in March 2014 he was appointed president of Yorkshire.