Pak media and cricketers lambast Darren Hair

Published: Monday, August 21, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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Lahore: Former Pakistani cricketers and media today lambasted Darrel Hair for being biased against Pakistan and unnecessarily raking up the ball-tampering controversy, with Imran Khan accusing the Aussie umpire of acting like a ''mini Hitler'' and Rameez Raja going to the extent of calling Hair a ''racist''.

The controversy erupted when Hair and fellow umpire Billy Doctrove imposed a five-run penalty on Pakistan for allegedly tampering with the ball.

In his column in The Nation headlined ''Hair the Hitler does it again'' Imran wrote that Hair's brash and provocative manner made him the main culprit in letting things go out of hand.

''Hair is one of those characters when he wears the white umpire's coat, he metamorphoses into a mini Hitler,'' Imran wrote.

''During my career I had seen such umpires who want to make their presence felt on the field. You could say these are umpiring fundamentalists.'' Imran also called for an independent inquiry on Hair and said if it is found that he made the allegation without solid evidence he should be taken off the international panel of umpires.

''Pakistan cricket team should also sue him for defamation unless he offers an unconditional apology,'' the world cup-winning captain said.

Imran also expressed dismay on Inzamam-ul-Haq's handling of the situation. ''Inzamam should have reacted far sooner than he did. Had I been in Ingi's place, I would have taken a stand right there and then when Hair decided to change the ball and accused the Pakistanis of ball-tampering. I would never have meekly accepted Hair's judgement the way Inzamam did.'' Former captain and coach Intikhab Alam said the umpire should have had proof to support his decision.

''Inzamam should have taken the decision of leaving the ground at that very moment when the umpires decided to change the ball or he should have kept on playing as Pakistan were in a winning position,'' Alam was quoted as saying by Daily Times.

In another column in The Nation headlined ''Pakistan in the cross Hair'', former captain and now commentator Rameez Raja called Hair a ''racist'' and villain of the piece.

''The pride of an entire people has been tarnished by his ludicrous and highly insensitive decision,'' Rameez wrote.

He said ICC's rigid stance on appointing Hair for sub- continental against the wishes of cricket boards of India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka had backfired.

''Hair has never tried to make friends with the sub-continental players to have a good atmosphere. And players from the sub-continent universally feel that he is biased, even to the extent of being a racist.'' Nearly all the newspapers criticised Hair for accusing the Pakistan team of cheating.

The Daily Times front-page story carried the headline: ''Hair's biased decision mars Oval Test match.'' A lead story with a picture of Hair removing the bails in the Dawn said, ''Hair-raising row turns Oval Test on its head.'' The News accused Hair of having a bias against Pakistan.

''What is involved here is Pakistan's image and self-respect and Hair's ruling casts a shadow on the reputation of the country.

It is seriously time to examine the possibility of taking this man to a court of law. Enough is enough. The Darrell Hair problem now has to be addressed and it does not look as if there is much hope that ICC will do so,'' wrote its correspondent Shahed Sadullah.

The paper even went on to accuse ICC of inaction.

''It is quite clear that one cannot hope for much in the form of redress from the ICC; if the ICC had not been pursuing extra cricketing agendas, they would not have appointed Hair in the first place after Pakistan had clearly spelt it out that they did not have confidence in this man.''

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