Adelaide, July 15: Recently-retired umpire Daryl Harper has hit out at the International Cricket Council (ICC) for not pulling up Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, over making "inappropriate comments" at and about him. Umpire Harper came in for severe criticism over a spate of alleged wrong decisions in India's first Test against the West Indies during the recently-concluded Caribbean tour. The flak prompted Harper to put in his papers prematurely and speak out against the international body for turning a deaf year to Dhoni's sharp words.
Harper took exception to the instance when after he had removed Indian seamer Praveen Kumar from the attack for repeatedly running on the pitch, Dhoni approached him and said, "We've had problem before with you", words that Harper construed as an attempt to intimidate him. Later, in a press conference, Dhoni said, "If the correct decisions were made the game would have finished much earlier and I would have been in the hotel by now." These words again appalled Harper who felt they were not in consonance with the spirit of the game and that Dhoni should have been pulled up for making them.
"...only one decision in the match would have been reversed had it been a DRS situation," said a flustered Harper. "And I read yesterday that I made nine mistakes in the game, so yes I thought it was time someone spoke up because unfortunately the ICC choose not."
Harper was also blasted by the Indian media for being "harsh" on Praveen Kumar, especially considering it was the seamer's debut in Tests. But Harper shot back by pointing out, "My comment to that would be a Test match is not a warm-up for anything higher, it is the pinnacle form of the game, why should someone playing their first game be any different to someone playing their last?"
Talking about farewell encounters, Daryl Harper decided to quit umpiring after his 96th Test which closed on this acrimonious note, declining to officiate the second and third Test between India and the Windies which he was assigned for.
In Harper's defence, the ICC Manager, Cricket Relations David Richardson, drew attention to the fact that 96 per cent of Harper's decisions involving India were correct that his detractors should cut him some slack. In an ostensible attempt to make it up to Harper and prevent his leaving international umpiring on a sour note, the ICC plans to conduct a presentation acknowledging his contribution to the game during the next Test at the Adelaide Oval, which is his home-town.