Ranatunga endorses Hair's removal
Arjuna Ranatunga, the former Sri Lankan captain, has welcomed the ICC's decision to ban Darrell Hair from umpiring in international matches. The decision came after Pakistan lodged a complaint against him after he accused them of ball-tampering in the Oval Test, which led to the game being forfeited.
"This should have happened long ago, but I am happy with the way the ICC handled the Pakistani complaint," Ranatunga told AFP. Ranatunga and Hair have had a fractious relationship since Hair repeatedly no-balled Muttiah Muralitharan for throwing during the Melbourne Test on Sri Lanka's tour of Australia in 1995-96.
Hair later claimed in his autobiography that Muralitharan's action was "diabolical", and said he would call Murali again if his action did not improved. His remarks irked the Sri Lankans and prompted the Sri Lankan board to ask the ICC to suspend him for bringing the game into disrepute. Following the incident, Hair did not umpire in any Test involving Sri Lanka till 2003.
Meanwhile, Faruq Ahmed, the Bangladesh chief selector, backed the ICC's decision too, saying that Hair had committed a gross misconduct by penalising Pakistan five runs at The Oval without sufficient evidence. Habibul Bashar, the Bangladesh captain, felt that Hair could have handled the situation in a more diplomatic manner.
"I think what the ICC has done is the right thing," Bashar told AFP. "Hair should have spoken to Inzamam and explained things to him before bringing charges of cheating against Pakistan. He does not understand what sort of stress a captain faces during a Test match."