Darrell Hair tribunal, 2nd day

A legal joust

Ivo Tennant looks at the men conducting the cross-examinations in the Darrell Hair hearing

Ivo Tennant in London

October 2, 2007

Text size: A | A



Robert Griffiths: lyrical Celtic cadences © 4-5 Grays Inn
Enlarge
The legal case that Darrell Hair is bringing against the ICC in the Central London Employment Tribunal is not really about the beefcake umpire at all. As when John Humphreys comes up against Jeremy Paxman, so it is a joust between the QCs: Robert Griffiths, with his lyrical Celtic cadences, and Michael Beloff, all Etonian assurance and zealous persistence in his cross-examination.

Both are great cricket lovers as well as top Oxford-educated lawyers who once shared the same chambers in Gray's Inn Square with Cherie Booth QC. They are friends, although that is not always apparent from their sparring at the hearing. Beloff, representing the ICC and, indeed, the chairman of its disciplinary Code of Commission, did not care to be interrupted when he was cross-examining Hair; Griffiths took a playful delight in so doing.

One compelling aspect of their performances - both could have excelled on the stage - is that they, rather than the chairman of the tribunal, decide when lunch and stumps are called. The exception came at 4 p.m. yesterday when Beloff was keen to wrap up his cross-examination of Hair and return, refreshed, on the morrow. He told the chairman that he had to be back in his chambers by five o'clock.

On this occasion, though, he was instructed to get back in his box. Another 15 minutes, he was told, but evidently he had enough, for he was addressing Mr Hair as 'Mr Speed' shortly before close of play. He was last seen trundling a great bag, presumably of legal papers, down Kingsway for his next engagement. Earlier - and to the surprise of the assembled cricket correspondents - he had posed a strange question to Hair. "Is it rare for an umpire to write a book?" he asked.



Michael Beloff: all Etonian assurance and zealous persistence © Brian Micklethwait
Enlarge
Beloff, it appeared, had not read the autobiography of one Dickie Bird. Or should that be 22 autobiographies? As the great Man of Barnsley will willingly tell you himself, truly without expectation of contradiction, "it were t'best selling cricket book of all time." Being an umpire or Premiership referee is a lucrative business these days when it comes to penning your memoirs. Beloff had, though, read Hair's memoirs and picked him up on his use of English - or did the pen belong to the umpire's ghost-writer? - by asking him why he had described Murali's bowling action as "diabolical." Is that, he asked the umpire, who took the stand all day, what you call a bowler when you no-ball him?"

Griffiths' chance for cross-examination of ICC witnesses will come. It was as well that this was not yesterday, for his voice was going. He is a distant relative of Tony Lewis, the former England captain, with whom he holidays in West Indies. On the eve of the World Cup final he threw a party in Barbados and the photograph in the following day's edition of The Nation depicted him and David Gower in celebratory mood. "Gower and Griffiths enjoy a champagne moment" read the caption. Wales, cricket, the Caribbean, Eton, Cherie Booth: it is an intoxicating mix.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

FeedbackTop
Email Feedback Print
Share
E-mail
Feedback
Print

    Trott's torment

Mark Nicholas: Cricket - batting specifically - defines Jonathan Trott, which makes his continued suffering all the more painful

    'Commentators must stop stating the obvious'

Bowl at Boycs: Geoff Boycott on hyped-up TV coverage, and the appointment of Peter Moores

    All change in Pakistan's domestic structure. Again

Osman Samiuddin: A recent proposal to shake up the first-class set-up reinforces that change is the only constant in Pakistan

    The cricket tragic who bowled Bradman

Former Australian PM Bob Hawke loved cricket. And he once left the Don speechless with the force of his political convictions

Moores and the shadow of the past

Jon Hotten: His second spell as England coach might be nothing like his first, but memories of it will hover nevertheless

News | Features Last 7 days

Crunch time for Sehwag and Gambhir

The former Indian openers haven't been shining lately, but the IPL presents an opportunity for them to show their class

England's Pietersen folly

They were making good progress in building a world-class side, but not getting rid of Kevin Pietersen after the texting saga in 2012 cost them greatly

The world record that nearly wasn't

Twenty years ago this week, Brian Lara became Test cricket's highest scorer, but he almost didn't make it

'Sri Lankan fans embrace the team, not just icon players'

Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara go over their World T20 win, and feel grateful to have fans whose support remains unwavering in victory and defeat

The captain's blunder

Plays of the day from the IPL match between Chennai Super Kings and Kings XI Punjab in Abu Dhabi

News | Features Last 7 days