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Last Updated: Sunday, 5 November 2006, 08:13 GMT
Pakistan celebrate Hair decision
Darrell Hair
Hair penalised Pakistan for ball-tampering in August
The Pakistan Cricket Board chairman has hailed Darrell Hair's removal from the panel of international umpires as "a victory for cricket".

The International Cricket Council took the decision to end Hair's career at the top level at a meeting in Mumbai.

Pakistan had lodged a formal complaint about Hair's handling of the fourth Test against England in August.

"After a long deliberation, the ICC unanimously decided in our favour," said PCB chairman Nasim Ashraf.

"It was all because of him that the match was forfeited and there was such a big loss to cricket."

The Test ended prematurely when Hair and fellow umpire Billy Doctrove awarded it to England by forfeit when Pakistan failed to take the field at the scheduled time after tea on the fourth afternoon.

Nasim Ashraf
We have been saying from the start that the unfortunate incident at the Oval was a blot on cricket and was all because of Hair

PCB chairman Nasim Ashraf

They were protesting at a decision by the two officials to penalise them for ball-tampering, a charge which was was rejected at a subsequent disciplinary hearing involving involving captain Inzamam-ul-Haq.

"Inzamam never refused to carry on with the game at The Oval, but was late by a few minutes. As things stand now, Hair was the real culprit," Ashraf added.

There was a more measured response from Pakistan coach Bob Woolmer, however.

He said: "There have been a lot of casualties from law 42.3 - Shaharyar Khan, the chairman of Pakistan cricket, and also Darrell Hair.

"I think they are two very good men who have suffered because of the acitions of August 20.

"My board are against him [Hair] continuing in matches with Pakistan, so I would go along with that, but I am very sad for cricket generally."

Former Sri Lanka captain Arjuna Ranatunga welcomed the decision to remove Hair.

He had a run-in with Hair in 1995 after he no-balled spin bowler Muttiah Muralitharan seven times.

"He was a wrong man from the beginning to be in the cricket ground. I am happy that he is finally out," said Ranatunga.

Australia, however, have been quick to voice support for Hair.

Former captain Bobby Simpson described the decisions as a "tragedy" and added: "He has shown great courage in making decisions which other umpires are not brave enough to make."

Current Australia skipper Ricky Ponting was "surprised" and "disappointed" by Hair's removal from the list.

Ponting said he did not believe Hair was seeking headlines by penalising Pakistan for ball-tampering in August's controversial Test at The Oval.

"He's done what he believed was right at the time for the good of the game."

Cricket Australia has issued an open invitation to Hair to return home and continue his career at domestic level.

"Darrell Hair is without doubt one of the world's top umpires," said director of communications Peter Young.

"Subject to what he wants to do, Cricket Australia would welcome him back with open arms."

Whether Hair decides to take them up on the offer is doubtful as he now lives in England.

Simon Taufel, who was named top umpire for the third successive year at Friday's ICC awards, has also given his backing to Hair.

Speaking before the decision about Hair's future was announced, Taufel said of the controversy at The Oval: "It was both umpires who made those decisions on the day to award the penalty runs and also to award the match.

"It wasn't just one umpire and those umpires actually followed the laws of the game.

"What's really important is that umpires continue to learn, continue to be better and continue to add value to the game."

Hair offered his resignation to the ICC in exchange for US$500,000 in the wake of the Oval match.

And former umpire Dickie Bird described that as his "biggest mistake".

He told BBC News 24: "I think that's gone against him. I think if it had not been for that I think he would have been OK, but I thought then his job would be on the line."

The ICC have not taken any action against Doctrove, who remains on the elite list and can continue to stand in Tests and one-day internationals.

SEE ALSO
Hair barred from internationals
04 Nov 06 |  Cricket
Hair 'guessed' at ball-tampering
29 Sep 06 |  Pakistan
Test abandoned after ball dispute
20 Aug 06 |  The Ashes


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