~~Hair could~~ve saved Oval Test from forfeiture~~

Published: Friday, September 29, 2006, 20:09 [IST]
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London: Last minute attempts to save the the Oval Test and limit the damaging impact of the ball-tampering fiasco was ruined by umpire Darrell Hair's walk out of a meeting called by the match referee, reports claimed today.

The Independent reported that a meeting called by match referee Mike Procter to explore ways of how to rescue the fourth Test which still had a day to run failed when Hair angrily walked out of the meeting as he ''was incensed by a gesture made towards him by Inzamam.'' The report said attempts were made to persuade Hair to stay, but he departed with the words: ''I am leaving and he knows why'' indicating to Inzamam.

The meeting was called after the umpires had awarded the match to England and was attended by Inzamam, England captain Andrew Strauss, coaches Bob Woolmer and Duncan Fletcher, Hair and other field umpire Billy Doctrove, ICC Umpires and Referees Manager Doug Cowie and England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) chairman David Morgan and chief executive David Collier.

Various possible solutions were explored during the meeting to find out a mutually acceptable solution so that play could resume next day.

''Inzamam then made a waving gesture to which Hair took great exception and walked out. One explanation is that the Australian umpire felt the gesture was insulting to anyone who knew anything about Pakistani culture.

''The meeting had been going on for about 15 minutes at that point and it became clear to everyone left that there was no point in continuing in Hair's absence,'' the report said.

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