England will be represented in the World Cup final after all – by two of its umpires.
Sheffield-born Richard Kettleborough will be in the middle at the MCG, alongside Sri Lanka’s Kumar Dharmasena, when tournament co-hosts Australia and New Zealand do battle.
England were always long shots to reach the final but in the event did not do themselves justice, making an embarrassing early exit before the knockout stages even began.
Their absence put their officials in a favourable position to be involved instead – given the need for neutral umpires – and Ian Gould will join Kettleborough in Melbourne, as the reserve appointment.
Kettleborough was a left-hand top-order batsman and occasional seamer, who was on Yorkshire’s books for several seasons without being able to make a first-team place his own.
His only hundred came at the end of the 1996 summer but the following year he made only three appearances and he moved to Middlesex where he was given an extended run but in 20 matches he only passed 50 five times and he was released at the end of 1999.
He continued to play with great success in Yorkshire club cricket and in 2006 he was added to the ECB list of umpires.
He made his international umpiring debut in the Twenty20 between England and Australia at Old Trafford in 2009 and was in the panel of 18 umpires for the World Cup in India in 2011. Later the same year, he was promoted to the ICC’s Elite Panel and, at 38, was the youngest in the group.
In 2013, just two years after getting into the Elite Panel, Kettleborough won the ICC’s Umpire of the Year award.
He follows in the footsteps of fellow Yorkshireman Dickie Bird who stood as umpire in the first three World Cup finals in 1975, 1979 and 1983. Bird was famously denied the opportunity to stand in a fourth final when Mike Gatting’s England side made it through to face Australia in the 1987 final in India. The use of neutral umpires meaning Bird was over-looked despite earlier being told he would take charge of the match.