Hair~~s removal is disappointing: Ponting

Published: Saturday, November 4, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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Sydney:Australian captain Ricky Ponting says Darrell Hair's reported removal from the ICC elite umpiring panel is surprising and disappointing.

A highly-placed ICC source told AFP Friday India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, together with South Africa, Zimbabwe and the West Indies, voted for Hair's dismissal at executive board meeting of the International Cricket Council (ICC) in Mumbai and which was to be formally announced later.

It comes after Pakistan lodged a complaint against Hair for his role in the forfeited Oval Test against England in August and demanded an inquiry into his conduct.

Hair awarded the first forfeited match in Test cricket's 129-year history when Pakistan refused to return to the field in protest at being accused of ball-tampering.

Ponting, announced Friday as the ICC's Player of the Year, defended the English-based Australian umpire saying he simply stood up for what he thought was right.

Speaking to Australian reporters in Mumbai ahead of Sunday's Champions Trophy final against defending champion West Indies, Ponting said, "I'd be disappointed for him if that's the case.

"He's obviously done lots of good things right over a long period of time. I'm sure he'd be disappointed."

Ponting said he didn't feel Hair had been "trying to make a name for himself" by taking a firm stand against Pakistan.

"He's done what he believed was right at the time for the good of the game. Nothing to do with himself," Ponting said.

"I'm surprised by it. I think that's been shown by being on the panel as long as he has (since 2003).

Hair also received support from cricket's leading umpire Simon Taufel.

Australian Taufel, who won his third successive ICC Umpire of the Year Award in Mumbai on Friday, said Hair not acted in isolation.

"No, I haven't spoken to Darrell directly about (events) The Oval," Taufel told a news conference, speaking before news of Hair's ban had broken.

"Obviously, it's an issue that we are all aware of.

"I'll say to you what I said at the time. It was both umpires who made those decisions on the day to award the penalty runs and to also award the match.

"It wasn't just one umpire. And those umpires actually followed the laws of playing the game.

"So I think what's really important is that umpires continue to learn, continue to be better and continue to add value to the game."


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