Darrell Hair – the umpire sacked and left out in the cold for nearly two years over a controversially abandoned cricket Test between England and Pakistan, has been reinstated as one of the game’s top officials.
Ever since Hair and colleague Billy Doctrove penalized Pakistan five runs for alleged ball-tampering during the fourth and final Test against England at The Oval in August 2006, Darrell Hair has not officiated at the top level in cricket.
The decision incensed the Pakistani team, and their captain Inzamam-ul-Haq refused to take the field. This resulted in the match being abandoned after tea on the fourth day with England awarded the first victory by forfeit in the history of the game.
A meeting of the world’s top cricket-playing nations cleared Hair to umpire at the game’s top levels (ODI’s & Tests). Of late, Hair’s only been officiating one day internationals involving minor cricketing nations.
Even though Darrell Hair has been cleared to officiate after taking part in a 6 month long (ahem) ‘rehabilitation program’, it’s unlikely that Pakistan will change their belief that he is unfit to umpire at the elite level.
For his part, Hair maintains that he made the right call on that fateful day.
“It’s easy to say, look, if I’d known how to deal with that sort of issue, the communication and management issues then, if I knew then what I know now I may have done things differently.
But I don’t believe so because there’s a certain limit to what the umpire needs to do under those circumstances and I believe that both the umpires fulfilled those obligations both with the ball tampering and the refusal to play.”
Hair believes that the way he was treated – compared to Billy Doctrove who also officiated at the match (and wasn’t penalized) – is an indication of the influence the very strong Asian Bloc has over the ICC.
This is something that was mirrored in the way the ICC dealt with the furor that erupted Down-Under during the Sydney test match between India and Australia. India responded to contentious decisions with the tried ‘n’ true bully-boy approach of ‘well-then-we’ll-take-our-bat-and-ball-
Both issues serve to highlight the growing gulf in international cricket. The old nations England and Australia in the corridors of power, are finding themselves challenged by the economic giants on the Asian continent.
And it’s an economic power that we’ve seen India bring to the fore in recent times…
I for one am not entirely sure that it’s good for the game.