Pakistan target Hair but ICC stand firm for now
by AFP

Ground:Kennington Oval, Kennington
Scorecard:England v Pakistan
Player:DB Hair, Inzamam-ul-Haq
Event:Pakistan in British Isles 2006

DateLine: 24th August 2006


Pakistan are pressing forward with their bid to make sure the cricket authorities sideline umpire Darrell Hair for any matches in which they are involved.


A first bid by the Pakistan Cricket Board to avoid Hair from now on fell on deaf ears with the International Cricket Council Wednesday.


But PCB chairman Shaharyar Khan has resolved to pursue the matter.


Pakistan consider Hair responsible, over and above his umpiring colleague Billy Doctrove, for Sunday's ball-tampering judgement made against them in the fourth Test against England at The Oval.


As the row continues to threaten the limited-overs leg of Pakistan's tour - due to start with a Twenty20 match in Bristol on Monday - Khan made it clear the Hair issue is not going to go away.


"They have received a letter from me. The obvious first knee-jerk reaction is that no country can dictate who is going to be umpire," Khan said.


"But it has happened before, with the Sri Lankans. Mr Hair was out for a year. We will say that once we give our reply - probably much more than that."


Hair, who has a sizeable list of controversies already behind him in a significant career as a Test and one-day international umpire, did indeed take a break from officiating in Sri Lanka matches.


Hair's absence from those fixtures followed his decision to report Sri Lanka's master off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan for a suspect bowling action in 1995.


ICC chief executive Malcolm Speed is expected in England soon to try and resolve the ongoing crisis following the unprecedented Oval abandonment.


Speed is likely to arrive before an ICC disciplinary hearing against Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul-Haq - on charges of ball-tampering and bringing cricket into disrepute - which was initially scheduled to take place Friday.


That meeting has been postponed because chosen match referee Ranjan Madugalle is unable to leave Sri Lanka while he attends to a family problem there.


Pakistan are minded to wait for Madugalle to become available - reporting he is their "preferred" option and that he is also favoured by England.


While the furore over Inzamam's Oval protest continues to rumble on, Speed has left little doubt about where the ICC stand on Hair.


"It remains the role of the ICC and not our members to appoint umpires," he said.


"The appointments are made without fear of favour."


Khan sees Speed's arrival as a very positive sign.


"We hope his coming here is likely to help the situation," he said.

(Article: Copyright © 2006 AFP)


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