Pakistanis say Hair must go
by AFP

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

DateLine: 29th September 2006


Former Pakistani Test cricketers and fans Friday called for Darrell Hair to quit as an umpire or be sacked after captain Inzamam-ul-Haq was cleared of ball tampering.


"The way he treated the country's captain at The Oval clearly showed he was disrespectful. Either he must resign or the ICC (International Cricket Council) should ban him," legendary all-rounder Imran Khan told AFP.


"I think he is a mini-dictator like Hitler," added the former skipper, echoing comments made in August when the furore first broke out -- and which were later used on placards at protests by angry fans.


Hair insisted he is a "bloody good" umpire but the Australian official's career was in left in the balance after he was withdrawn from next month's Champions Trophy in India because of security concerns.


He and fellow umpire Billy Doctrove changed the ball in the fourth Test at the Oval last month after alleging it had been tampered with, prompting Pakistan to refuse to return to the field after tea.


Pakistan forfeited the match but the ICC cleared Inzamam of ball tampering on Thursday. He was banned for four one-day internationals for bringing the game into disrepute.


Khan said there was enough evidence for Hair to be banned.


"His past record proves he always courts trouble and he always tries to implement laws without leeway. He levelled serious cheating allegations against Pakistan without any decent evidence," Khan said.


"Hair caused one of cricket's greatest controversies and then demanded 500,000 dollars as compensation. What does that tell you about the man," he said, referring to a leaked email from the umpire to the ICC demanding payment in return for his retirement.


Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Shaharyar Khan said Thursday the PCB wanted an investigation into whether Hair himself brought the game into disrepute.


"We are grateful to all the Test playing countries, especially India, for their support and now we would consider the next course of action against Hair," PCB spokesman Abbas Zaidi said.


Another former captain, Rashid Latif, said the ICC's actions indicated that Hair's career was all but over.


"By withdrawing Hair from the Trophy, the ICC has hinted he would not be in the elite panel of umpires from next year," Latif said.


"I think Hair would now write a book on the Oval incident and earn the money which he had sought from the ICC."


Cricket fans also called for the Australian to go.


"Hair was controversial, he will remain controversial -- so what is the use of having such an official? Just ban him forever," said Mohsin Ahmed, an avid cricket fan from the southern port city of Karachi.


"He is unlike most Australians who are professional, honest and play cricket in the best of spirits."

(Article: Copyright © 2006 AFP)


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