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November 29, 2006
Darrell Hair, the Australian umpire who this month was banned from umpiring in internationals, has been retained on the ECB reserve umpires list for 2007.
Hair was standing alongside Billy Doctrove, the West Indian umpire, when the final Test between England and Pakistan was abandoned on the fourth day following Pakistan's refusal to take the field after they'd been penalised five runs for ball tampering.
Reserve umpires are eligable to stand in any first-class match under the ECB and are granted these matches depending on their level of performance. A space had opened up on the full list following the retirement of David Constant and there was a thought that Hair would move up. However, that role went to Tim Robinson, the former England batsman.
Chris Kelly, the ECB's umpires and match operations manager, told Cricinfo Hair was part of their discussions. "All the reserve list umpires were considered as replacements for David Constant. At the time the decision was taken on who to appoint it still wasn't clear what ICC's decision would be regarding Darrell and what decisions he would take himself. It has been a reasonably recent development that Darrell has confirmed his availability with us."
As far as next season is concerned, Kelly is hopeful Hair will be about to go about his umpiring without problems. "If any situations arise we will deal with them at the time," and added, "everyone on the list is available for future promotion."
Meanwhile, umpires in New South Wales have announced they will wear black ribbons in support of Hair during this weekend's club matches. The NSW Cricket Umpires and Scorers Association (NSWCUSA), of which Hair is a life member and former president, asked all umpires at club matches to wear the ribbons on Saturday.
Earlier this month, the NSWCUSA took out a full-page advertisement in newspapers containing an open letter criticising ICC for its decision to demote Hair from the elite panel following what was seen as pressure from the Asian bloc.
A statement from the NSWCUSA said the decision to wear black ribbons was aimed at not just showing support, but also "to express concern at a total lack of respect for the role of the umpire by the ICC along with a demise in the idea of playing by the laws".
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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