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Hair set for swift umpiring return

Darrell Hair expects to officiate in the Champions Trophy next month despite the unresolved issues from his decisions at the Oval Test. Hair told The Courier-Mail he was planning to stand in the tournament and an ICC source confirmed to the Sydney Morning Herald it was a "safe bet" Hair would be in India.

"Yes, I am down to umpire in the Champions Trophy and I expect to fulfill that appointment," Hair told The Courier-Mail from the Newmarket races in England. "I'm not sure what matches I'll be doing but I'm looking forward to it."'

Hair's future has been under threat since he docked Pakistan five runs for ball tampering last month, a decision which resulted in the abandonment of The Oval Test when Inzamam-ul-Haq's team refused to return to the field. Inzamam will face charges of ball tampering and bringing the game into disrepute in London during a two-day hearing starting on September 27.

The ICC will unveil its officials for the Champions Trophy in the next 24 hours and an ICC source told the Herald Hair was "still regarded as one of our best umpires". "It's a safe bet that he'll be there [for the Champions Trophy]."

The Pakistan Cricket Board has so far not said anything on this latest development. When contacted, a senior PCB official told Cricinfo, "We can't make any comments about this whole matter as it is considered sub judice. "

Last week though, Reuters quoted a board source warning the ICC that Pakistan would consider taking strong action if Hair was to stand as umpire in any matches or tournaments involving them. The source said that the ICC had been informed in writing that if Hair was put on the umpires panel for the Champions Trophy, it would consider a number of options, including pulling out. "Pakistan is very clear on Hair's future appointments. It does not want him appointed either in the Champions Trophy or any other series in which is Pakistan is playing," the source said.

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