Controversial umpire honored by Cricket NSW

Darrell Hair has been honored with life membership of his Australian state association.

updated: September 08, 2009 09:16 IST
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The year after he was reinstated as an international umpire following a suspension for presiding over the first forfeit in Test cricket, Darrell Hair has been honored with life membership of his Australian state association.

Hair, who first courted controversy for no-balling Sri Lankan spinner Muttiah Muralitharan for chucking during a Melbourne Test match in 1995, retired as a Test umpire last October to take up a teaching role in Australia.

His decision on Muralitharan's action cost him support in South Asia and caused him trouble later in his career. Muralitharan, who later proved that a birth defect caused his unusual arm action, became the leading wicket-taker of all time.

But it was during the 2006 Test series between England and Pakistan that Hair entered cricket folklore.

The saga began on the fourth day of the fourth Test when Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul-Haq refused to lead his team back on the field after the umpires enforced a five-run penalty for alleged ball tampering.

Umpires Hair and Billy Doctrove of the West Indies subsequently awarded a forfeit _ the first in 129 years of Test cricket _ when Pakistan did not return to the field on time. The win was awarded to England.

Hair was cut from the panel of elite international umpires, but was reinstated in March last year after an employment tribunal hearing. Inzamam was suspended for four games for bringing the game into disrepute, while the team was cleared of the ball-tampering allegations.

The International Cricket Council later changed the result to a draw, meaning England was recorded as winning the four-match series 2-0 instead of 3-0.

Hair was inducted as a life member of Cricket New South Wales on Monday night, along with former Test spinner Bob Holland. Glenn McGrath, the leading Test fast bowler of all time, is among the other recent life members.

Cricket New South Wales chief executive David Gilbert said Hair, who will turn 57 later this month, deserved to be honored for his long service to the game.

"While people will immediately recall the name Darrell Hair in a controversial light, I think that is really doing him an injustice in terms of what he achieved in the game," Gilbert was quoted as saying Tuesday. "Darrell called it as he saw it, if people have problems with that then that is really their problem.

"I think he should be congratulated for having the strength of character. He has always been a man of high principles and has umpired the game according to the rules and for various reasons has incurred the wrath of officialdom and the like because of his strength of character."

Gilbert said Hair's 78 Test matches as an umpire was the second most of any Australian umpire. Hair also stood in 139 limited-overs internationals and 146 first-class matches.