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April 11, 2005
Darrell Hair has refused to change his black trousers and act as a makeshift sightscreen after Stephen Fleming complained about not being able to sight the ball from Lasith Malinga, the Sri Lankan fast bowler with a slingy action. In the first Test at Napier Fleming struggled to pick Malinga's round-arm deliveries, released from in front of the umpire, after which he had made the request.
"We're told what to wear by the ICC," Hair was reported as saying in the Sydney Morning Herald. "It's part of our gear and that's what we are wearing. It's all about adaptability. We are talking Test cricket here, so we can't just change our clothing for one bowler then come off and change it again when someone else is on. I can understand their concerns but we all have to overcome difficulties at some stage of our life, so in some ways it is a test of character."
Fleming had termed Malinga's case as a "unique" situation and added: "Part of it is the trousers in the umpires' uniform. We found it extremely tough when [Malinga] bowled a certain line and length to pick him up. We've asked for the uniforms to be changed. The umpires are there to help, not hinder. I know it's tradition that they wear that colour, but this circumstance is pretty unique. White aprons, I don't care what it is. The full beige would be good."
Steve Bucknor partly acquiesced to Fleming's requests at Napier, when he draped a white jersey down his front. But Hair refused to do the same. "I'll hold a jersey there [around the waist] but I'm not going to be wrapping myself up. I've got no problem with taking the tie off, but how far are we going to go ... next thing they'll want me to take the blue band off my hat."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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