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November 4, 2006

Politics

Hair no more

Kamran Abbasi

It seems awful to celebrate the end of anybody's career but today's news from Mumbai will bring some cheer to Pakistan fans reeling from the loss of their two best bowlers. The ICC's verdict will also cheer Indian and Sri Lankan fans, all of whom have suffered by Darrell Hair's finger. The Australian umpire has been brazen and unapologetic about his role in the first forfeited match in the history of Test cricket. The rights and wrongs of this incident have been debated to death but one point stands out above all others for me: no official is important enough to end a game when all the players and spectators want it to continue. Hair's end is a triumph for Inzamam but also for cricket as entertainment. Let's never again forget what really matters.

Kamran Abbasi is an editor, writer and broadcaster. He tweets here

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Posted by Ramesh Rajaduray on (February 8, 2007, 0:39 GMT)

Darrell Hair's character is going to be questioned. How would anyone here like it if one of your employees says "Look, I've made a mistake. I'll do the honourable thing and resign and you pay me $500,000 as compensation". Those e-mails have really made a mess of Darrell Hair's case. As Malcolm Speed pointed out, the e-mails were inappropriate at that time. Sorry Darrell, but you've shot yourself in the foot big time!

Darrell Hair strikes me as either incredibly naive or incredibly pig-headed. It sounds like the latter. I'm sure the ICC lawyers are going to have a field day shredding his case in court. Firstly, if someone felt they were right, why would they offer to resign? You could argue that he was under pressure, but then to put forward a plausible case for $500k?

The court case will be fun

Posted by Zahra on (December 1, 2006, 12:42 GMT)

Mr. Ahmed if shoaib Akhtar may be a show off to you. But can anyone imagine, why he is called a showoff. Because people are scared of him, jelous of his blasting bulls...to which no one can be compared. People call Him show off. I call those people Jealous.

Posted by intrepid on (November 18, 2006, 23:32 GMT)

So Mr Hair was the ICC's second best umpire when the Asian bloc decided that his courage and willingness to uphold the laws of cricket could no longer be tolerated..a black day for cricket, and maybe the beginning of the end for a single world cricket body..Pakistan fans would obviously be keen to go back to the days of having their own umpires, when Javed could stand in front of his stumps knowing he would never be given out LBW..when Hair called Murali, he was proved correct, and the Asian dominated power bloc had the Law changed to allow the dacoit (Mr Bedi's assessment) to continue..and his stand on ball tampering will also lead to a change in the Law (which as a former bowler is fine by me!)

Posted by Azfar Alam on (November 17, 2006, 11:32 GMT)

Today I was surprised to see the news that Hair is the 'Umpire of the year'....maybe for all the wrong reasons !! Anyway, it is great to see the back of Mr. Hair...cricket can do without such characters. Umpires are there to facilitate and officiate the game.If they try to take centrestage then they are headed for trouble.That was precisely Mr. Hair's problem. Shakoor Rana had the same problem and hence the number of incidents associated with him.

Hair considered himself the crusader who is there to clean up the game. It is another matter that most often his crusades used to be against the Asian Teams!! I doubt if he got along with any of the players. All the great umpires we have had like Dickie Bird, David Shepard etc used to get along with the players and the players used to take their odd bad decision sportingly. Hair never appeared to enjoy what he was doing....he seemed like an stern headmaster. Inzi was taken to task by most people for taking such a stand...but that's precisely what has brought the end of Mr Hair's career. The blame lies with ICC for persisting with an umpire who was so controversial and biased. It was ICC's way of getting back against the Asian Countries who were flexing their muscles to show that all ICC revenue comes from there......

Posted by radha on (November 12, 2006, 8:46 GMT)

either the pauls and nathans of this world are ignorant of hair's history or are laughably disingenuous or both. the asian nations have been complaining for years about hair's bias and high-handedness. his recent run-in with the pakistanis was merely the last straw. i wonder what these guys were saying when england and australia had two votes each at the icc and veto power. were they as indignant as they are now about asian dominance? it's a good guess they weren't. otherwise things might have changed much earlier and asia would not have nursed this massive grievance. and see who's talking of racism! these were the guys who were playing with aparthied south africa for 60 years. but when mugabe dispossesses a few whites, they begin a concerted campaign camouflaged in self-righteousness against him and zimbabwean cricket.

Posted by MSZ on (November 11, 2006, 15:40 GMT)

Think about it. If Inzi didn't do his "stupid" act of sit-in Hair would still be an "elite" umpire. The whole matter would have been swept under the carpet as the ICC has often done to "protests." The cricketing world would have continued in "bliss." BTW we all know what ignorance is. Oh yeah and Pakistan would have gone on to win the match if they would have played...but it's better to lose "honourably" than to win.

Posted by Owais2010 on (November 11, 2006, 13:18 GMT)

Great to see ICC do what was required. People who advocate for rule of law like Eucepth Ahmed, Nathan, Ricky Ponting, Steve Waugh consider that rule of law is important but what about the fool who is applying the rules of law ? Talking about asian bloc, why is it that only crickets, present and ex, only from Australia have supported Hair ? why Richards, Holding, Atherton, Boycott, Nasser Husain, Andew Miller (writer), Ramiz, Imran, Ranatunga have supported Pakistan ??? Why only the countries with pre-dominantly white population, Australia, England and NZ voted for Hair ? This is clearly a case where these countries took everyone else for granted and lot of people are finding it difficult to accept the new reality. Where everyone is equal.

Posted by THS (Asian Aussie in the US) on (November 11, 2006, 6:37 GMT)

To all the so-called "Asian bloc" supporters crowing about Hair's sacking; I feel it is the worst day in cricket's history. What a spineless, hypocritical mob the ICC are to give in to this hysterical "bloc". As someone said here, racial lines are a 2-way street - wait until a SL, Indian or Pakistani umpire does something similar to a "white" team! Oh, I'm sorry, that would still be racist behaviour fromt he whites wouldn't it?! Yes, he is no diplomat, but he's doing his job which no umpire will ever do from now on. Why don't we just have Hawk-Eye do the umpiring now & deprive the game of its great uniqueness??! All this crap about insulting a nation, etc - what?! This is sport, not the UN. Inzy should have been banned for a year, not 4 ODI's irrespective of the ball-tampering judgement! As far as I'm concerned, the ICC should have let the Asian bloc keep the game to themselves - see how long you like seeing an endless round of games between SL, Ind & Pak! The "white" teams will suffer too, but we would just have to see who outlasts who! But of course the mighty dollar or rupee talks too convincingly now doesn't it? All cricket (int'l) umpires should go on strike!! And what about Doctrove & the other 2 umpires/referees involved in that game!?? Why do they get off free?

For the record, I'm Asian, an Aussie, an Aussie cricket team supporter & also LOVE watching SL, Ind & Pak teams play and am also forever cringing at the Oz team's perrenial boorishness & racist behaviour. I hope Hair sues the ICC for as mcuh as he can! The whole affair, from Inzy's behaviour, the so-called judgement & finally Hair's sacking absolutely makes me sick! BTW - I thought neutral umpires were brought in to stop allegations of bias & wretched decisions, especially from "sub-continental" teams !?

Posted by partha on (November 10, 2006, 11:34 GMT)

bravo to pakistan team, they are disunited generally, but during oval they were united. Indian teams never fought against racist umpires or match referees, as Pakistan has done. I remember only once did India fight during the South african tour when Sehwag was fined for excessive appealing. Pakistan has been fighting the racism since years, hats off to them. They always are forthright and provide the balance needed in international cricket. Indians should take a leaf out of Pakistan attitude and start dominating the world cricket. No more racist taunts can shake us.

Posted by Paul on (November 8, 2006, 23:48 GMT)

I think why Ponting made the comments he did was obvious. It has nothing to do with Hair being a fellow Australian, it was his bewilderment that he could be sacked because a group of angry and powerful stakeholders is offended.

In his comments Speed makes clear that Hair is not being sacked for his lack of competency but because the Asian nations voted for it. It's a serious misstep, because not only does it give Hair good grounds for a legal appeal, but it means from here on in the ICC is a lame duck because the Asain bloc knows it will not try and stand up t them. Don't get me wrong, i'm not that sorry Hair's gone, but the point is that in the real world you can only sack someone if they have proved themselves incapable of doing the job they are hired to do. Now there's a good case to be made for that (granted there's a good case to be made against it also) but Speed didn't even try to make it, and that says everything.

He should go, because he's been as naive and incompetent in his comments this week as a certain former Pakistani Captain and tribunal member was a couple of weeks ago.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kamran Abbasi
Kamran Abbasi is an editor, writer and broadcaster. He was the first Asian columnist for Wisden Cricket Monthly and wisden.com. Kamran is the editor of the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine. @KamranAbbasi

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