ICC officials tried to destroy my life: Hair

With the ICC deciding to reverse the Oval Test result in favour of England, umpire Darrell Hair, who stood in the match, has hit back at the world body.

updated: February 03, 2009 19:24 IST
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With the ICC deciding to reverse the 2006 Oval Test result from a drawn encounter to that in favour of England, Australian umpire Darrell Hair, who stood in the infamous match, has hit back at cricket's governing body, accusing its officials of trying to destroy his life.

Pakistan had refused to enter the ground after tea on the fourth day of the Oval Test protesting the docking of five runs for ball-tampering by Hair and Billy Doctrove.

The umpires then awarded the match to England declaring it a forfeiture by Pakistan. But following protests by Pakistan, the ICC appointed an adjudicator to probe the incident and decided to change the result to a draw last year.

Hair, who was briefly banned from officiating, reacted to the ICC board's move to reverse the decision to an England win saying, "They tried to destroy my life."

Hair also claimed on Tuesday that the incident showed the ICC board has lost its credibility.

"After the ICC made the decision (to ban him), several ICC officials set out to make a real meal of it and make life very tough for me. I know for a fact that several senior ICC officials, when they saw the ball, agreed with my thoughts that it had been scratched. Yet some of those people, when the board made their decision, set out to get me," said the retired umpire, who took the ICC to court for sacking him from the elite panel.

"I felt the gun was loaded by the ICC board and (cricket manager) Dave Richardson and (chief executive) Malcolm Speed were only too happy to pull the trigger. People like myself pay for having an opinion and standing up for what is right."

Hair, who is working as an umpires' manager with New South Wales Cricket, said those who questioned his integrity should now either stand down or be removed from office.

"People who were sitting on the ICC board when they initially changed the decision (to call the match a draw) should stand down or be sacked," he said.

"There was a lot of support for me from around the world but unfortunately none of the people who worked at the ICC were among them. I am dirty on the fact that none of the people who worked there backed me. There is no doubt at all the ball was scratched. Yet a match referee (Ranjan Madugalle) who wasn't at the game at the time held a meeting five weeks later and arrived at a ruling he had no right to find."

Hair said the then Cricket Australia chairman Creagh O'Connor could have supported him more.

"He sat there (in the ICC board meeting) and admitted there was not much he could do. There was an opinion already decided that I was gone. That, to me, makes him weak. To me, you stand up for your principles even if you are going to get beaten at the ballot box," said Hair.

He said as long as the ICC allows Zimbabwe's cricket to be run by chairman Peter Chingoka, who is accused of financial mishandling, the body's image will continue to be tarnished.

"I can't believe the ICC continue to have one of their nations run by someone who is linked to a corrupt regime If the ICC board had any morals or credibility they would have to do something about that as well but they don't," he was quoted as saying by the 'Courier Mail'.