ICC shouldn~~t appoint Hair for Champions Trophy

Published: Friday, September 22, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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Sydney: Former Pakistan captain Waqar Younis has warned the ICC against appointing Darrell Hair for the upcoming Champions Trophy in India before Inzamam-ul Haq's hearing as it may amount to declaring the controversial umpire ''innocent'' in the ball-tampering row.

''I don't know what the ICC are thinking. This should have been sorted out in the first 36 hours of it happening. The whole thing has become a mess, and it's going to get more messy now,'' Waqar told the Sydney Morning Herald here.

''I don't like that they will make an announcement before the result of the hearing, without knowing what is going to happen to Inzamam. It is wrong of the ICC to say that before the hearing. They are basically saying that (Hair) is innocent. They should have waited until after the case. The reputations of both men are still hanging,'' he added, urging the governing body to wait till the completion of the impending hearing on the infamous controversy, which led to the forfeiture of Pakistan's Test against England at the Oval.

Recalling the incident, Waqar said their was no evidence to suggest that the ball had been tampered with and accused Hair of aggravating the controversy with his high-handed attitude.

''I don't think anyone really expected it to aggravate so much.

When we came back at the tea break, Inzy and the whole team were asking, 'Why did (Hair) do it?' There was no evidence. So the team and the management decided not to carry on for the time being. I wouldn't say I was the key figure, though,'' Waqar said.

The former pacer, however, admitted that the issue did no good to the reputation of the game but felt that the Pakistan team was not wrong in walking out of the game as their pride had been hurt.

''It was bad for cricket, but if you ask me, it was good for our country and our reputation. It wasn't just about ball tampering. By doing what he did, (Hair) was calling the whole Pakistan team cheats, penalising us five runs with no evidence. That was totally wrong,'' he asserted.

Waqar reiterated that Pakistan, after the initial protest, wanted to continue with the game but it was Hair who prevented the match from continuing.

''We wanted to make our protest. Then we went back on to the ground because we didn't feel that the crowd should suffer. By the time we took the field Darrell had taken the bails off, even after the ICC requested for the game to go ahead,'' he recalled.

The legendary seamer, who was banned in 2000 for ball-tampering, also said that the punishment on him was not fair and claimed that he never cheated to derive reverse swing.

''It was a part of the game in the '50s, '60s and '70s. It has always been there. No one was penalised back then. I was fined, and it wasn't the best feeling. I didn't do it, but they still penalised me straight away,'' he said.

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