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Last Updated: Tuesday, 18 March 2008, 15:30 GMT
Hair restored as ICC elite umpire
Darrell Hair and Inzamam-ul-Haq
The saga began when Pakistan were penalised for ball-tampeing
Australian Darrell Hair has been recalled to the International Cricket Council's elite panel of umpires.

Hair has not officiated in a major match since the infamous Oval Test in 2006, when Pakistan refused to continue amid suggestions of ball-tampering.

The 55-year-old was subsequently dropped from the panel.

He began a racial discrimination claim against cricket's governing body but dropped the case and has since been on an ICC rehabilitation programme.

One of cricket's most controversial incidents began when Pakistan were penalised five runs and England were allowed to select a different ball in the fourth and final Test of the 2006 Test series.

Pakistan were incensed, and when they refused to return to the field after the tea interval, Hair and fellow official Billy Doctrove awarded the match to England, the first forfeit in Test cricket history.

606: DEBATE
NorthernM

The matter was then examined at an ICC hearing in London.

Inzamam-ul-Haq, the Pakistan captain, was cleared of ball-tampering charges but was suspended for four one-day internationals after being found guilty of bringing the game into disrepute.

Pakistan refused to take part in matches in which Hair was officiating, claiming he was biased against teams from the sub-continent.

Hair remained contracted to the ICC but he was not chosen for international matches involving Test nations, instead taking charge of a match between Kenya and Scotland.

Having resided in England for several years, Hair was offered the chance to officiate in domestic county matches by the England and Wales Cricket Board, but declined.

Darrell Hair
Hair officiated in matches between non-Test nations during 2007

Hair, who umpired the first of his 135 one-day internationals in December 1991 and the first of 76 Test matches in January 1992, will now be available to resume as an official in both forms of the game at international level.

ICC president-elect David Morgan confirmed that the decision had been a unanimous one.

"Darrell Hair is a good, competent umpire and his position will be reviewed after March 31, 2009 as is the case with other umpires at the end of their contracts," he added.

An spokesman told the BBC that there would be no restrictions on Hair's reinstatement, meaning that he could conceivably umpire a Pakistan match.

"It's a matter for the selection committee to decide what matches he umpires," he said.

Our board should never have backed down on this issue

Inzamam-ul-Haq

Former Pakistan Cricket Board chief Shahayar Khan was far from happy with the return, however, and said: "This is shocking news.

"He should never have been reinstated after committing so many gross irregularities during the Oval Test.

"The ICC board decided beyond doubt Hair's conduct was not up to the mark. This man violated his responsibilities as a senior umpire. How the ICC can restore him is hard to comprehend."

And former skipper Inzamam lamented: "Our board should never have backed down on this issue."

BBC reporter Pat Murphy observed: "Darrell Hair will be entitled to deep satisfaction at this verdict, not least of all because his marks have always been among the top three umpires in world cricket during his time as an international umpire.

"There was never any doubt about his quality as an umpire and his decision making. It was more, in the eyes of some of the Asian countries, his attitude.

"Darrell Hair took the brunt of all that and he has been vindicated both in terms of his decision making in that Test match and also in terms of his overall competence as being an international umpire again."



SEE ALSO
Morgan opposed demotion of Hair
08 Oct 07 |  Cricket
Hair accused of blackmailing ICC
03 Oct 07 |  Cricket
Hair 'hell' over forfeited Test
01 Oct 07 |  Cricket
Morgan named ICC president elect
29 Jun 07 |  Cricket
ICC names Mali acting president
07 Jun 07 |  South Africa
ICC president Percy Sonn mourned
27 May 07 |  South Africa
Hair rejects England umpire list
19 Feb 07 |  Cricket
Hair 'guessed' at ball-tampering
29 Sep 06 |  Pakistan
Pakistan anger over cricket chaos
21 Aug 06 |  South Asia
Inzamam charged in cheating row
21 Aug 06 |  Cricket


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