Darrell Hair: retire? 'I'm bloody good' © Getty Images
Darrell Hair cut a lonely figure when he was brought to face the world's media at The Oval seconds after an ICC spokesman had revealed that he had been withdrawn from the Champions Trophy on "safety and security" grounds.
But he faced his inquisitors for almost three-quarters of an hour with calm assuredness, making jokes and even brushing aside attempts by the press officer to limit the number of questions put to him.
Asked if he had considered retirement, Hair said he had not, and pressed why not, he said: "Because I'm bloody good. Of course I wish to keep on being an umpire. My umpiring performance or career is on public record and if other people consider I am still good enough to umpire I will continue."
Hair made clear from the off that under ICC regulations he was unable to answer any questions relating to incidents during the Oval Test or the hearing itself - not that it prevented several attempts to do so.
"I think the last few weeks have been quite trying on everybody," he said. "The Code of Conduct is there to be applied, it's been applied, I'm bound my own code of conduct but it's good to have it over."
With regards to the offer to resign in the aftermath of the Oval row, he admitted that "it may well have been an ill-advised thing to do at the time, I think I've already admitted that." But he took a swipe at the ICC's decision to make the letters public. "I believe [such things] should remain confidential. We learn lots of things from the things we do in life. I still believe that those matters should be kept confidential. It's something that's part of the ICC Code of Conduct hearing and I've explained why I can't discuss that."
Asked if the decision to penalise Pakistan was wrong, he gave a rueful smile. "My contract at the ICC clearly states that I must umpire to the best of my ability ... all I will say is I'm out there doing my best. I'm not here to defend any decision. I umpire matches in good faith. I do it to the best of my ability."
"I've umpired since 1985 and from the day I started umpiring my career was in the hands of other people. People make assessments on my career on a ball by ball basis. If other people who have always made those decisions consider I'm good enough to still umpire, I will continue."
Some were surprised that Billy Doctrove and Mike Procter were not present. "Whether he [Doctrove] chooses to come to press conferences is his choice; that's nothing to do with me. Yes, there were two umpires and I might reiterate that decisions cannot take place unless the umpires agree."
He was asked if he would umpire in England as he was on the ECB's reserve list - that drew a big grin from him and he admitted that he was unaware of that. "I've umpired in the Championship for the last two years luckily without the publicity that we have here. If I'm available I'll do it, I'd love to."
He also brushed aside suggestions that he had effectively put himself out of the equation for umpiring some countries. "That will be up to other people to decide whether it has damaged my relationship with any other team around the world."