Thatscricket - News - Grade games are as important, says Hair
Published: Thursday, July 12, 2001, 3:35 [IST]
Copyright AFP 2001
ICC Trophy teams briefed on dangers of fixing
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Toronto: It seems like the ideal appointment for one of cricket's leading umpires: An international tournament far removed from the glare of constant publicity which also offers the chance to pass on knowledge to officials from the game's smaller nations.However, Australia's Darrell Hair, the umpire manager at the International Cricket Council (ICC) Trophy currently taking place here, told AFP on Wednesday that he was taking his present duties just as seriously as he would a Test match at Sydney or Lord's."You've still got to be able to count to six," he joked. "Really, there is nothing different about these games."It doesn't matter if it's a Test match or a grade game you've still got to concentrate fully otherwise that's when problems can start," said Hair who is joined on the umpiring panel here by fellow Test officials, Eddie Nicholls (West Indies) and Rudi Koertzen (South Africa).At the start of this tournament 24 of the world's leading associate cricket nations set out to claim one of the four places on offer for the 2003 World Cup in South Africa.Now it's down to the last eight and with qualification in many cases a once in a lifetime prize to what are, essentially, amateur players, the pressure is on everyone - including the officials.Hair is also the New South Wales umpire development manager. This is, after all, the man who helped create one of the biggest cricket controversies of recent times when he no-balled Sri Lanka's Muthiah Muralitharan for throwing and later added fuel to the fire by describing the off spinner's action as "diabolical" in his autobiography."That's a different matter," said Hair, with just the faintest trace of a rueful grin."The players here are generally better behaved than in Tests. But some of them were not aware at the start of their obligations under the ICC code of conduct. In most cases that was simply because they had never really played under it before."But, according to Hair, whose desk is full of advisory notes about various cricket Laws and regulations, the standard is improving all the time."The umpires and players here are becoming more experienced. Hopefully they will gain something here that they did not have before and be able to take it back to their home countries."