Pakistan praise ICC for Hair removal

Karachi - Pakistan on Saturday hailed the International Cricket Council (ICC) decision to remove Australian umpire Darrell Hair from the elite umpiring panel.

The controversial umpire was removed on Saturday from the ICC's panel after an executive board meeting of cricket's governing body in the Indian city of Mumbai.

"The Board has decided that it has lost confidence in the umpire," said ICC president Percy Sonn.

India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, together with South Africa, Zimbabwe and the West Indies, voted for Hair's dismissal, while England, Australia and New Zealand opposed the move.

The decision came after a complaint lodged by Pakistan against Hair for his role in the forfeited Oval Test against England in August.

Hair awarded the first forfeited match in Test cricket's 129-year history when Pakistan refused to return to the field in protest at being accused of ball-tampering.

Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul-Haq was later cleared of illegally altering the ball, although he was banned for four one-day matches for bringing the game into disrepute.

Reacting to the ICC's decision, Inzamam said he nurtured no grudge against Hair.

"I had already forgiven Hair. It is the ICC's decision and I will not say much on it," said Inzamam.

Former Pakistan Cricket Board director Abbas Zaidi said Hair's removal had vindicated Inzamam and the PCB.

"Since we were involved in the standoff it vindicates whatever we believed and advocated. We thank the British media and all the Asian cricket boards, especially India, for the support in the Hair issue," Zaidi said.

Former captain Javed Miandad said the ICC had set an example for other umpires.

"By removing Hair from the elite panel, the ICC has set an example and in future all other umpires will be under pressure to take the right decisions," said Miandad, who had criticised Pakistan's protest in the Oval Test.

"The ICC has upheld the game's esteem and its own esteem," remarked Miandad.

Another former captain, Rashid Latif, said Hair should have been forgiven.

"Hair has suffered enough so I thought he would be forgiven because Inzamam had forgiven him," said Latif.

"I think Hair had stigmatised his reputation by demanding compensation and it spoiled his case," said Latif, referring to Hair's leaked email to an ICC official demanding $500 000 dollars for an early retirement soon after the Oval incident.

Former Pakistan umpire Mahboob Shah said Hair's sacking proved the ICC had a process of accountability.

"People criticised the ICC for not holding the umpires accountable but this has been proved wrong," said Shah, who officiated in the final of the 1987 World Cup in India.


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