Ponting backs under-fire Hair
Ricky Ponting has said that Darrell Hair's reported removal from the ICC elite umpiring panel is surprising. Ponting defended Hair by saying he simply stood up for what he thought was right.
A highly-placed ICC source told AFP that India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, together with South Africa, Zimbabwe and West Indies voted for Hair's dismissal at the executive board meeting of the ICC in Mumbai on Friday. Pakistan had also lodged a complaint against Hair for his role in the forfeited Oval Test against England in August and demanded an inquiry into his conduct.
"I'd be disappointed for him if that's the case," Ponting told reporters. "He's obviously done lots of good things right over a long period of time. I'm sure he'd be disappointed." Ponting didn't feel Hair had been "trying to make a name for himself" by taking a firm stand against Pakistan. "He's done what he believed was right at the time for the good of the game. Nothing to do with himself," Ponting said. "I'm surprised by it. I think that's been shown by being on the panel as long as he has [since 2003]."
Hair also received support from Simon Taufel, who won the ICC Umpire of the Year Award for the third successive time. He said Hair had not acted in isolation. "No, I haven't spoken to Darrell directly about [events] post The Oval." Taufel was speaking before news of Hair's reported removal had broken. "Obviously, it's an issue that we are all aware of. I'll say to you what I said at the time. It was both umpires who made those decisions on the day to award the penalty runs and to also award the match. It wasn't just one umpire. And those umpires actually followed the laws of playing the game. So I think what's really important is that umpires continue to learn, continue to be better and continue to add value to the game."