The Bird man of Barnsley bows out

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The Independent Online
Summers will never be the same again. Dickie Bird, the most famous cricket umpire in the world, has announced that today's second Test between England and India starting at Lord's will be his last.

Bird, 63, has become a cherished part of the nation's sporting furniture since standing in his first Test match in 1973. Since then he has courted controversy for his often seemingly eccentric decisions about bad light, yet simultaneously charmed the public with his obvious love of the game.

He has also earned the respect and affection of players the world over and is widely regarded as the best and fairest.

Receiving honorary life membership of the MCC yesterday, Bird, who still lives in his native Barnsley, said: "As I make my way through the MCC members and out on to the most wonderful cricket ground in the world, I will shed a few tears.

"Cricket has been my life - there has been nothing else. It's been cricket, cricket, cricket."

Photograph: Tony Buckingham