A hair-raising past

Throughout their umpiring careers, Darrell Hair and Billy Doctrove have been involved in a number of controversies. Cricinfo looks back at the moments that have put the two umpires in the limelight

Australia v South Africa, February 1994
Three leg-before dismissals against his team-mates resulted in Peter Kirsten having an animated discussion with Hair. In the second innings, Kirsten himself was given out in the same manner and a further outburst ensued, with the batsman being fined 65% of his match fee.

Australia v Sri Lanka, December 1995
In his most infamous moment before The Oval, Hair called Muttiah Muralitharan for an illegal action seven times during the Boxing Day Test at Melbourne. Murali was brought on from the other end but was not called by Steve Dunne. At the tea interval on the second day, Hair told the Sri Lankans that he was prepared to call Murali from the striker's end. Wisden reported: "unusually, he made his judgement from the bowler's end, and several minutes passed before the crowd realised that Muralitharan's elbow, rather than his foot, was at fault".

While Hair received scathing criticism in Sri Lanka, in Australia the reactions were mixed. However, Don Bradman was quoted as saying it was "the worst example of umpiring that [he had] witnessed, and against everything the game stands for." After discussions between the Australian Cricket Board and the Board of Control for Cricket in Sri Lanka, Hair umpired no further games involving Sri Lanka in the season and he did not umpire another Test involving Sri Lanka until their tour of the West Indies in 2003.

November 1998
Hair claimed in his autobiography, Decision Maker, that Murali's action was 'diabolical' and that he would call him again if it had not improved. Hair's remarks prompted the Sri Lanka board to ask the ICC to suspend the umpire for bringing the game into disrepute. Hair then threatened to sue the president of the Sri Lankan board for allegedly accusing him of bias.

Zimbabwe v New Zealand, September 2000

New Zealand were chasing 132 for victory on the fifth and final day of the match when Hair, officiating from square leg, no-balled Grant Flower three times in his second over.

August 2003
Steve Dunne, the New Zealand umpire who stood with Hair at Melbourne in 1995, spilled the beans about his silence during the Murali throwing controversy. In his book, Alone in the Middle: An Umpire's Story, Dunne wrote: "There were many thoughts going through my mind. What do I do? Do I support Darrell Hair because he has called Muralitharan and do I call him as well? Or do I support what I believe, which was what we had discussed and decided at a conference in Coventry earlier this year?" That conference had decided in the case of a suspect action that the matter would be reported to the match referee who would have the action filmed and sent to the International Cricket Council.

Pakistan v South Africa, October 2003

Shaun Pollock was reported by Hair for showing dissent, and subsequently fined 100% of his match fee, after questioning the judgement of the umpire during the third ODI between Pakistan and South Africa at Faisalabad.

New Zealand v Pakistan, January 2004
Hair and fellow umpire Billy Bowden reported Shabbir Ahmed, the Pakistan fast bowler, for a suspect bowling action. The report was made after reviewing footage of Shabbir's action taken during the fifth and final ODI between New Zealand and Pakistan at Wellington.

November 2004
Hair tells the ICC that he does not want to officiate in matches in Zimbabwe again.

England v Pakistan, August 2006

Hair struck again, and how. The Oval became the scene of the first such forfeiture in 129 years of Test cricket as Pakistan refused to take the field following Hair's accusation of ball-tampering. Between lunch and tea on the fourth day, and following Alastair Cook's lbw dismissal to a delivery that showed a fair amount of reverse swing, Hair was seen intently looking at Mohammad Asif rub the ball against his trousers at mid-on. At the end of the 56th over, bowled by Danish Kaneria, Hair went over to Billy Doctrove and was seen pointing at the quarter seam. The fourth umpire, Trevor Jesty, then brought out a box of balls and the England batsmen, Kevin Pietersen and Paul Collingwood, were allowed to choose the next one to be used, in accordance with the laws.

To confirm that this had been the umpires' decision to change the ball five runs were added to England's total, which umpire Hair signalled by patting his right hand to his left shoulder. Bad light stopped play soon after, and Pakistan refused to take to the field after tea in protest. What ensued was a chaotic two hours after which the day's play being abandoned without another ball being bowled.

The Doctrove file

Was he run out or not?
West Indies v India, May 2002

Carl Hooper was out of his ground at the non-striker's end when the ball deflected onto the stumps off Ashish Nehra's hand from a drive by Shivnarine Chanderpaul. Television replays seemed to suggest that Hooper was out of the ground but Doctrove ruled Hooper in. Hooper, then on 15, went on to score 115 and India lost. Hooper himself thought he was out: "I had a look at the replay in the evening of the game and it looked to me as if I was short of crease."

The curious case of the missing over
West Indies v New Zealand, June 2002

With West Indies leading the series 2 -1 the outcome of the final match had come down to the last over. Fifteen runs were needed when Stephen Fleming tossed the ball to Paul Hitchcock. However, it was here that Doctrove told bowler and captain that Hitchcock's ten overs had been bowled. Fleming was forced to give the ball to Daryl Tuffey, who had bled 33 runs in 4 overs, and West Indies carted him around the park and went on to win the match and series.

There was considerable dispute over Hitchcock's spell and a check of the scorebooks after the game showed an irregularity: the New Zealand book had Hitchcock for nine overs and the West Indian book for ten. Doctrove, and fellow umpire Asoka de Silva, admitted later that they had made an error and that the scorecard was wrong. Fleming complained about their 'incompetence' to the match referee Wasim Raja.

A West Indian first
Barbados v Guyana, Carib Beer Cup, 2004

Barbados's Carib Beer Cup win against Guyana in the opening round of the 2004 Carib Beer Cup was marred by the first five-run penalty for ball-tampering in West Indian first-class domestic cricket. Barbados thrashed Guyana by ten wickets in the opening round of the competition, but on the third afternoon of the match, the umpires, Doctrove and Vincent Bullen, reported to the match referee that the ball had changed condition. They immediately changed it and penalised Barbados five runs.

When Billy Doctrove went missing
West Indies v India, May 2006

Doctrove was standing at square leg when he went off the field to get an issue with the sightscreen sorted out. Nobody, including the main umpire Asad Rauf, saw his absence and Irfan Pathan delivered a ball, triggering chaos. Brian Lara and Ramnaresh Sarwan went for a quick run, Suresh Raina had a shy at the striker's end and the fielders turned towards square leg to appeal. Lo and behold, there was no Doctrove. Seconds later he was seen ambling back towards his position from the deep fine-leg boundary, wondering what all the commotion was about. The decision was soon referred to the third umpire but eventually Rauf signalled it as a dead ball. Luckily for Doctrove, the replays showed that Lara had made his crease.

When Doctrove didn't pass a verdict
West Indies v India, May 2006

Mahendra Singh Dhoni, in the midst of a savage attack, biffed a ball towards deep midwicket where Daren Ganga back-pedalled to take the 'catch'. The on-field umpires, Rauf and Simon Taufel, were not sure whether Ganga had trampled on the boundary ropes in the process and went upstairs to Doctrove. Replays were inconclusive and for the next 15 minutes chaos reigned supreme in the middle. Lara talked with the umpires, argued with them, had a chat with Dhoni, telling him he should take his fielder's word and leave the arena, which Dhoni, eventually, did. But many wondered why Doctrove didn't just give the benefit of doubt to the batsman. A few days later the ICC tweaked the rules and decreed that benefit of the doubt, in such circumstances, will be given to the fielder.