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August 22, 2008
Darrell Hair, the Australian umpire, has handed in his resignation to the ICC in order to take up a coaching role. Hair returned to top-flight umpiring in March, six months after a period of rehabilitation that was enforced by his employers, the ICC, in response to the forfeited England-Pakistan Oval Test in 2006.
He officiated in two Tests between England and New Zealand in May but, in spite of continuing to be on the Elite Panel of umpires, he has not been offered any more Test appearances. Consequently, he has decided to end what has been a successful umpiring career, albeit one blighted by controversy in recent years.
He takes up his new role with the New South Wales Umpires and Scorers Association (NSWUSA) in 10 days. "Darrell will concentrate on what he will do best: mentor, coaching and getting umpires up to a higher level," Peter Hughes, a spokesman for the NSWUSA, told the Australian.
The fracas at The Oval in 2006 was the first game in history to be forfeited after Pakistan refused to take the field, following Hair's ruling that they had tampered with the ball. Hair was subsequently stood down from any matches which involved full-member nations, although never officially removed from the Elite panel, but continued to stand in Associate games.
He took the ICC to court claiming racial discrimination, but withdrew his claims seven days into a tribunal in London last October. Hair moved back to Australia and went on a six-month rehabilitation course before being reinstated at the ICC's March meeting in Dubai.
Yet although he made a quiet return to the fold in England this year, the fact he was to be "kept away" from matches involving Pakistan led many to question his status as an international umpire. In addition, Pakistan were outraged at his return to Test officiating.
"This has been Darrell's decision and he remains on the elite panel until his contract finishes in October," an ICC spokesman told Cricinfo. News of Hair's resignation came as he stood in an ODI between West Indies and Canada and he is also scheduled to umpire in Sunday's final of the tri-series in Canada.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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