ICL: Indian Cricket League

Asian cricket better off Hairless: ACC


Asian cricket is better off without Australian umpire Darrell Hair, a top Asian Cricket Council (ACC) official said here on Monday.

The ACC chief executive Ashraful Huq told reporters here at the National Stadium that Asian nations were unanimous in the decision to push for Hair’s exclusion from the Elite Panel of Umpires following The Oval fiasco this summer. But he rejected the idea that the four Asian Test-playing nations - Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh - had held a formal meeting in India this fall to get rid of Hair.

“There was no formal meeting on this issue but yes, we did agree that Asian cricket would be better off without Hair. There was consensus among the Asian Test nations on this case,” he said.

Hair was sacked as an international umpire by the ICC earlier this month after Pakistan lodged a charge-sheet against him in the aftermath of the infamous Oval Test. In that fateful Test, Hair infuriated Pakistan by punishing them for alleged ball tampering with a five-run penalty. Pakistan staged a dressing room sit in to protest the penalty and later the Test was forfeited by the umpires and awarded to hosts England.

Pakistan were later cleared of ball-tampering following an ICC inquiry but their captain Inzamam-ul-Haq was banned for four matches for bringing the game into disrepute. The PCB made a case against Hair and was given a solid backing by the three other Asian Test-playing nations. Hair’s sacking triggered stories that an Asian bloc was formed to bring the ICC under pressure but Ashraf said that nothing of that sort happened. He said there were no blocs, splitting international cricket.

Ashraf said that Asian cricket officials are in fact working on making cricket a more global sport by taking it to the world’s most populous nation - China. “You can’t call cricket a true global sport by not having it in China,” he said. “If cricket grows in China it would be a huge boost for the sport. Even its commercial value would increase by 40 percent,” he added.

He said that the ACC has already made inroads into China and former Pakistan Test bowler Rashid Khan has been sent there to train under-15 players. “If Chinese start taking cricket seriously then I am sure they would take big strides. Some people say that they can even be a part of the 2015 World Cup,” he remarked. He said that China would be featuring in an Under-15 tournament in Thailand in the coming future and would slowly become regular participants of the ACC and other international cricket events.

Source:The News

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