ICC disprove reports on Hair~~s appointment

Published: Wednesday, September 20, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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London: Confusion reigned supreme on Darrell Hair's appointment for next month's Champions Trophy in India with the ICC today refuting media reports that the controversial Australian umpire has been offered a chance to stand in the event.

''This is pure speculation. We aim to confirm the umpires in the next day or so,'' an ICC official told 'BBC Sport', after Hair claimed to be a part of the panel of umpires for the Champions Trophy.

''Yes, I am down to umpire in the Champions Trophy and I expect to fulfill that appointment,'' Hair told the 'Daily Telegraph' from the New market races in London.

The under-fire Aussie, who forfeited the Oval Test between England and Pakistan in favour of the hosts after Inzamam-ul Haq's men refused to take the field following the infamous ball-tampering row, claimed that he is set to return to action.

His claims gained credibility after a Sydney Morning Herald report said the ICC has also given a thumbs up to Hair's return following the ball-tampering controversy.

''Hair is still regarded as one of our best umpires. It's a safe bet that he'll be there (for the Champions Trophy),'' the report quoted an ICC source as saying.

ICC Chief Executive Malcolm Speed had already thrown his weight behind Hair by saying that the Australian was one of the best on the elite panel of umpires.

Hair's appointment is likely to be met with disapproval from the PCB, which has made it clear that it did not want Hair in any match featuring Pakistan. Reports after the ball-tampering row had even quoted PCB chief Shahryar Khan as saying that Pakistan might withdraw from the Champions Trophy if Hair was appointed for the event.

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), however, remained tight-lipped on the development and said it would wait for an oficial announcement from the ICC before reacting.

''We will not make any comment as the ICC code of conduct meeting is due to take place next week and we will wait for that before taking any steps,'' a board spokesman was quoted by 'BBC Sport'as saying.

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