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February 8, 2007

Politics

Hair he goes again

Kamran Abbasi
Darrell Hair answers questions about his move to sue the ICC and PCB, Nairobi, February 7, 2007
 © Ian Jacobs / Cricinfo Ltd
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Darrell Hair is at it again. Creating a fuss, drawing attention to himself, and generally displaying the indignation of the most righteous man in the world of cricket. But self-righteous is the word that best describes Mr Hair, because the majority of people do not share his view of how we was treated.

Anybody who was involved with events at The Oval knows that Mr Hair was the man responsible for the ball-tampering verdict against Pakistan, Mr Hair was the man who stopped the match from being resumed despite requests from cricket boards and the ICC, and it was Mr Hair who was the senior umpire taking responsibility for the decision-making.

Indeed Mr Hair has upset the Pakistan team with his arrogant manner prior to The Oval, as well as angering India and Sri Lanka. For Mr Hair to now claim that he was the victim of racism is a further affront to the people he has already offended.

Perhaps I should sue Mr Hair for racism? At the press conference following last year's ball-tampering hearing he refused to answer a question I put to him but answered the same question when asked by a white journalist. Frankly, Mr Hair's obnoxious attitude towards me didn't bother me in the slightest, by contrast it was highly revealing. Indeeed, several senior journalists came up to me afterwards to make this very point.

There comes a time when you should draw a line under events, accept where you went wrong, and move on. It's too simplistic to say that Mr Hair had a good record for getting umpiring decisions right. That becomes meaningless when you have a track record of handling major issues badly.

Mr Hair deserved the judgement he received from the ICC, and I'm sure I'm not alone in growing tired of his self-righteousness.

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

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Posted by Talal Hasan on (February 15, 2007, 20:42 GMT)

' I suspect that the more we see of TV replays being used to make decisions the more we will realise that they aren't tha panacea they were cracked up to be.'

Charlie would you not agree that run out/ stumping decisions have improved dramatically because of the use of the third umpire? Are you also saying Third umpires would not be better utilised looking out for front foot no balls. In Tennis they have umpires looking out for faults. This would reduce the pressure on the on field umpires. Hence they may make less mistakes.

Posted by Charlie on (February 15, 2007, 18:30 GMT)

"I think umpires should be accountable for their mistakes. I think the third umpire with the use of technology should have a larger role to play in matches. The decision process will become a lot more fairer and objective as of a result of this."

Odd to make this comment in a thread that is largely about the failure of a third umpire to give the right decision.

I suspect that the more we see of TV replays being used to make decisions the more we will realise that they aren't tha panacea they were cracked up to be.

Posted by Talal Hasan on (February 15, 2007, 15:27 GMT)

Charlie

In regards to accpeting the umpire decision and respecting him. I do agree with those comments. However I think people should be allowed to question the umpire's decision in the future. Especially if technology shows that they have consistently made incorrect decisions.

I think umpires should be accountable for their mistakes. I think the third umpire with the use of technology should have a larger role to play in matches. The decision process will become a lot more fairer and objective as of a result of this.

Posted by Ben on (February 15, 2007, 15:18 GMT)

Point 1. Inzi run-out

Look at this pic http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/41040000/jpg/_41040422_inzy270.jpg

Hair should not have referred this to the TV ump

Point 2. Communication Hair seems to have serious problems communicating. With captains, players, TV umps, media. Being terse, tight-lipped and assuming a superior air, ain't the way to communicate.

Point 3. Why Hair and not others ? Simply because he has a history.

The ICC knew that there was tension between Hair and Pakistan and still allowed him to officiate.

After the Oval debacle, it would be incredibly obtuse for them to allow him to continue.

The straw that broke the camels back.

Posted by Keith on (February 15, 2007, 13:15 GMT)

the whole cricket world should breathe a sigh of relief that the worst umpire in international cricket has departed. strange that all but 1 or 2 of his citings for chucking have been non white? the less we hear of him the better. the less we talk of him the better. close the topic now?

Posted by Charlie on (February 15, 2007, 8:31 GMT)

"Now, Inzi was taking evasive action and could not be given out regardless. "

That is not true: if he had been out his ground before taking evasive action he could have been out. That was the line call that needed checking and that the 3rd umpire messed up, either because he didn't know the laws or didn't understand what was being asked of him.

Again, if it wasn't Hair involved we wouldn't be mentioning the field umpire only the TV umpire. It is this sort of thing that perpetuates the impression of bias where there is none.

Posted by adil on (February 15, 2007, 3:01 GMT)

also pakistan team decieded to not excersice

Posted by Ben on (February 14, 2007, 20:46 GMT)

Point 1. The Inzi run-out

Had Hair known his rules, he would not have referred it to the 3rd ump.

The 3rd ump was called upon to ONLY determine if Inzi was in his crease or not. And so the 3rd ump ruled he was out of his crease when the wicket was broken. The 3rd ump is NOT to be blamed for this.

Now, Inzi was taking evasive action and could not be given out regardless.

So, Hair did NOT know his beloved laws. And he could not see what's obvious to all. Inzi is a big man taking evasive action. Not a small snick, or a close catch or a run-out type decision.

Point 2. The $500,000 disclosure

ICC HAD to reveal the e-mail from Hair publicly. Not doing so would have caused them far more damage if discovered later and would have undermined their credibility.

Point 3. Umps Opinion I agree that we have to follow the umps opinion. But an ump is not above reproach. His opinion IS questioned. An ump's LBW decision is questioned with video replays. In the past, his run-out decisions were questioned with video replays.

How does one question an umps opinion about ball tampering ? Is he given carte blanche on this ?

So, if we can question an umps opinion on the small matter of an LBW, why cant we question an umps opinion on the HUGE matter of accusing an entire team (and nation) of cheating ?

So technically, an ump cannot be called upon by the ICC to explain his opinions. That's his opinion, right or wrong.

But beyond the technicality, the jury if you will, nobody wanted him officiating.

And for good reason.

Point 1. The Inzi run-out

Had Hair known his rules, he would not have referred it to the 3rd ump.

The 3rd ump was called upon to only determine if Inzi was in his crease or not. And so the 3rd ump ruled he was out of his crease when the wicket was broken. The 3rd ump is NOT to be blamed for this.

Now, Inzi was taking evasive action and could not be given out regardless of whether he was within the crease or not.

So, Hair did not know his beloved laws. And he could not see what’s obvious to all. Inzi is a big man taking evasive action. Not a small snick, or a close catch or a run-out type decision.

Point 2. The $500,000 disclosure

ICC had to reveal the e-mail from Hair publicly. Had they kept it hidden, it would have caused them far more damage if discovered later and would have undermined their credibility.

Point 3. Umps Opinion I agree that we have to follow the umps opinion. But an ump is not above reproach. His opinion IS questioned. An ump’s LBW decision is questioned with video replays. In the past, his run-out decisions were questioned with video replays.

How does one question an umps opinion about ball tampering ? Is he given carte blanche on this ?

So, if we can question an umps opinion on the small matter of an LBW, why cant we question an umps opinion on the huge matter of accusing an entire team (and nation) of cheating ?

So technically, an ump cannot be called upon by the ICC to explain his LBW opinions. And Hair was not brought forth to the ICC to explain his ball tampering opinion. That’s his opinion, he’s entitled to it, right or wrong.

But beyond the technicality, the jury if you will, nobody wanted him officiating.

Posted by Spaceman! on (February 14, 2007, 12:23 GMT)

Talal - yes, it was an appalling decision, and i'd have hated to see any batsman get out that way. However, the blame about the decision cannot fall on anyone but the 3rd Umpire. As you say 'from the footage' it can be clearly seen. But an umpire doesn't see 'in footage', he sees things at full, break-neck pace; no replays, no slow-mos. he reffered the decision to the 3rd umpire because he wasn't sure. You are blaming him for another mans mistake.

As for the ball tampering issue; of course i'd be livid if i was accused of cheating. However, there are other, better ways of dealing with the situation that refusing to play. They held the game to ransom and set a horrible precedent.

ben: they did not 'risk everything'. they had already lost the series. And Hair doesn't have to show a thing. The laws say 'in the opinion of the umpire'. not 'proven by'. Fair? no. but thats the laws of the game. Again, you are castigating a man for following the laws of the game. Don't like the rules? try and get them changed. but as they stand, dont have a go at a man for doing his job to the letter of the law.

Posted by Charlie on (February 14, 2007, 8:48 GMT)

"However my point is that the decision should have not been referred to the 3rd umpire in the first place. From the footage you can clearly see that inzi left his crease because of the evasive action that he took."

Exactly, you can see that FROM THE FOOTAGE. That footage was available to the TV umpire, but not to Hair who only had the live action to go on and fel it wasnt clear enough to decide so he, rightly, handed the decision to the TV umpire who messed it up. If it wasn't for the witch hunt against Hair we wouldn't even have mentioned him, the discussion would have been solely about the third umpire who made the mistake.

"I don;t know who charlie and Spaceman support but if Asad Rauf gave your country's batsman out when they were clearly not out and he did this to your team over a consistent period of time. I ask you,wouldn;t both of you feel highly irritated by this individual?"

The trouble is that this hasn't happened in the Hair situation. Hair has made mistakes like any umpire (although fewer than most), but because parts of the media has decided that he is biased those involving certain teams are given more prominence and always associated with bias. This has become self perpetuating and continues regardless of any actual bias.

"Or he took changed the ball because a dramatic amount of reverse swing was happening and he accused the team of tampering with the ball. However he was wrong about the ball tampering allegation, wouldn't you be frustrated?"

I'm a Gloucs fan and a couple of seaons ago we were accused of ball tampering, there was no TV footage of it, just the word of the umpire (and the opposition's coach). Rather than bang on about how the umpire was 'wrong' I just took his word for it and accepted that we were punished. That is how it should be. If the umpire says it is so, it is so. You have to respect the position, even if you don't respect the man, and get on with the game, otherwise football-style chaos ensues.

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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 international editor of the British Medical Journal. @KamranAbbasi

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