Controversial umpire Darrell Hair is set to make a sensational return to international cricket at the Champions Trophy next month, reports said on Wednesday, in a move expected to anger Pakistan.
The 53-year-old revealed to Australian media that he would travel to India for the one-day tournament featuring all the world’s top teams. “Yes, I am down to umpire in the Champions Trophy and I expect to fulfill that appointment,” Hair told the Courier Mail newspaper based in the northern city of Brisbane. “I’m not sure what matches I’ll be doing but I’m looking forward to it,” he added.
The head of the International Cricket Council (ICC), Malcolm Speed, declined to be drawn into the controversy and described Hair’s participation in the Champions’ Trophy as mere speculation.
“As far as I know the panel of umpires has not been announced yet,” he said in Beijing, where he was attending events promoting the growth of cricket in China. “There is some concern about Darrell Hair’s umpiring future but I am not going to comment on something that amounts to mere speculation at the moment,” he added.
Hair’s career was widely thought to be over following the fiasco at The Oval Test between England and Pakistan last month. The match ended in bizarre fashion when Pakistan refused to take the field after tea on the fourth day in protest at being accused of ball tampering by Hair and fellow umpire Billy Doctrove. The move led to the umpires awarding the match to England — the first forfeit in the 129-year history of Test cricket — and triggering the biggest crisis in the sport since the match-fixing scandal in 2000.
Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul-Haq was subsequently charged with ball tampering and bringing the game into disrepute while Hair added to the chaos when it was revealed he offered to quit the elite panel of umpires for 500,000 dollars.
Hair, no stranger to controversy, later withdrew the offer and issued a public apology for demanding the money. News that he could stand in the Champions Trophy comes just days before the much awaited hearing into Inzamam’s actions on September 27 and 28.
Inzamam, who has been retained as Pakistan’s captain for the Champions Trophy, faces a ban of two-four Test matches or four-eight One-day Internationals (ODI) if found guilty.
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) said it would not comment before the ICC hearing. “We will not make any comment as the ICC Code of Conduct meeting is due to take place next week and we will wait for that before taking any steps,” Board spokesman Abbas Zaidi told.
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Post InfoThis entry was posted on Thursday, September 21st, 2006 and is filed under General.
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