Benson blames walkout on ill health

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The Independent Online

English umpire Mark Benson yesterday said he was not planning to retire from international cricket and dismissed reports that he had walked out of a Test match last week after a disagreement over the controversial referral system as "unfounded and totally untrue".

Benson had reportedly been ready to quit the game after standing down from his duties during the second Test between Australia and West Indies in Adelaide last week amid growing dissatisfaction with the implementation of the umpire decision review system.

The 51-year-old returned home on Sunday night citing ill health as the reason for his departure and confirmed yesterday that he is undergoing medical tests for an unspecified ailment.

"I would like to clarify that I have not resigned as an elite panel umpire," said Benson in a statement issued through the International Cricket Council, his employers. "I had withdrawn after the first day's play as I felt that – due to my general health – I was not up to the task and it was in the best interests of the game, the ICC and myself that I step down and hand over to my colleague Asad Rauf. I have been in discussions with the ICC since my return from Australia and we have agreed that I will undergo a series of medical assessments. We will then discuss my future and my position as an ICC elite umpire.

"I would also like to state clearly that my withdrawal had nothing to do with the decision review system. I remain a proponent of the use of technology as it helps the reduction of obvious errors. The media speculation about the so-called disagreement in the umpires' room is unfounded and totally untrue."

Benson, who has been part of the elite panel for three years, pulled out of the Adelaide game after one day. He was reported to have been furious that his decision to give Shiv Chanderpaul not out was overturned by Rauf, the third umpire, after Australia asked for it to be reviewed.