Sun, Nov 05, 2006 - Page 22 News List

Cricket body removes Hair from elite umpire panel

AFP , MUMBAI, INDIA

Australian umpire Darrell Hair gestures during a press conference following a disciplinary hearing for Pakistan's captain Inzamam-Ul-Haq at the Oval in London, on Sept. 28.

PHOTO: AP

Pressure from Asian nations resulted in Darrell Hair's sensational removal from the elite umpiring panel, which was confirmed late yesterday, a highly-placed International Cricket Council (ICC) source said.

He said the four South Asian Test-playing nations tabled the motion to sack the controversial Australian three months after he was at the center of a ball-tampering row with Pakistan.

India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, together with South Africa, Zimbabwe and the West Indies, voted for Hair's dismissal, he said.

England, Australia and New Zealand wanted him to remain.

"The Asian bloc comprising India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh tabled a motion at the meeting that Hair be taken off the panel," the source said. "The motion was put to vote and was passed by a 7-3 majority. The four Asian nations plus South Africa, Zimbabwe and the West Indies voted against Hair. England, Australia and New Zealand wanted him to continue."

The decision was taken on the opening day of the two-day executive board meeting of the ICC and was to be formally announced later.

It comes after Pakistan lodged a complaint against Hair for his role in the forfeited Oval Test against England in August and demanded an inquiry into his conduct.

Hair awarded the first forfeited match in Test cricket's 129-year history when Pakistan refused to return to the field in protest at being accused of ball-tampering.

Captain Inzamam-ul-Haq was later cleared of illegally altering the ball, although he was banned for four one-day matches for bringing the game into disrepute.

Hair's reputation plummeted still further when the ICC revealed he had asked for US$500,000 in return for quitting the panel.

The controversies followed a string of stormy episodes during Hair's 14-year international career, often involving Asian teams.

In his very first match, in January 1992, he infuriated India at Adelaide with a series of contentious lbw decisions.

But he first hit the headlines in 1995, when he repeatedly no-balled Sri Lanka's Muttiah Muralitharan for chucking.

He further inflamed Sri Lankan opinion by describing the spinner's bowling action as "diabolical" in his autobiography.

Hair also upset Pakistan last November by ruling that captain Inzamam had been run out by a throw to the wicket-keeper during the Faisalabad Test, even though the batsman appeared to be taking evasive action.

The ICC did not include Hair in the panel for the ongoing Champions Trophy tournament in India, saying it was doing this for "safety and security reasons."

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