The chances of Darrell Hair officiating in the Champions Trophy appear to have receded substantially with the news that the Indian board has written to the ICC asking that he not be allowed to stand during the tournament.
"Yes, we have written to the ICC," a senior BCCI official told Cricinfo. "There may be some unseemly incident as he is already in a controversy." An ICC spokesman confirmed that a letter had been received from the BCCI but reiterated that the decision over appointments for the tournament remained entirely with the ICC. The Indian board had earlier said that it would abide by the ICC's decision on umpiring choices.
The fact that it has delayed naming the umpires for Champions Trophy due to start in India on October 7, points to behind-the-scenes rumblings. An ICC spokesman told Cricinfo last Wednesday that the names of officials would be revealed "within 24 hours". But with India, the host nation and cricket's commercial powerhouse, formally backing Pakistan's demand that Hair be barred from officiating at the tournament it looks unlikely that the ICC will choose appoint him.
Earlier this month Hair told reporters that he was "down to umpire in the Champions Trophy and I expect to fulfil that appointment," adding: "I'm not sure what matches I'll be doing but I'm looking forward to it."' It now seems that statement was premature, and indeed may have only served to rile some of those who have stood behind him so far.
Given the way that the ICC board members usually operate, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, South Africa and Zimbabwe will, in all probability, support India and Pakistan should it come down to an executive vote, and it is therefore hard to see how the ICC could name Hair without there being extremely serious ramifications.