Harbhajan has a highly suspicious action: Hair

Published: Wednesday, August 24, 2011, 14:02 [IST]
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'Bhajji has a highly suspicious action'

Melbourne, Aug 24: Former Australian umpire Darrell Hair, who triggered a storm by accusing Sri Lankan off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan of chucking 16 years ago, says Indian tweaker Harbhajan Singh is also among the bowlers with "highly suspicious action".

In his book ''The Best Interests Of The Game'', the excerpts of which were published in the ''Daily Telegraph'', the controversial Hair said despite suspect action, it was unlikely that any action would ever be taken against erring bowlers.

"I noted that Harbhajan Singh, Shoaib Akhtar, Mohammad Hafeez, Johan Botha and Abdur Razzaq all bowl with a highly suspicious action that may or may not fall within the 15 degrees of tolerance," he wrote.

"But the chances of their being reported are slim. As to the chances of their being actually called during a match, absolutely zero."

Harbhajan's action has been under the scanner in the past with former Indian spinner Bishan Singh Bedi being among those who have raised question marks about its legality.

Hair, who was asked to step down after a 78-Test umpiring career from 1992 to 2008, routinely hit the headlines for various controversies during his tenure, the biggest of them being the Muralitharan episode.

"Muralitharan was reported by match referee Chris Broad during Australia's tour of Sri Lanka in 2004 for illegal straightening of the arm at the elbow during his bowling action," Hair wrote.

"Tests on 1 April 2004 at the University of Western Australia revealed that he straightened his arm by an average of 14 degrees, which was 9 degrees in excess of the tolerance level for spin bowlers mandated by the ICC at the time. On 5 February 2005 the ICC's Chief Executive Committee approved proposals aimed at ending the 'malaise' over illegal bowling actions.

"Under the new proposals, the tolerance limit for straightening of the arm for all bowlers was to be set at 15 degrees, which studies had shown is the point at which the naked eye can make out excessive straightening," he recalled.

"Amazingly, this was one degree more than the average of Muralitharan's arm straightening!"

Hair was asked to leave the ICC panel of umpires after Pakistan criticised him for awarding a Test to England against in 2006.

The umpire had accused Pakistani players of tampering with the ball which prompted their then captain Inzamam ul Haq's refusal to lead the side out in protest. Interestingly, he has used the picture of his altercation with Inzamam as the cover page of his new book.


Read more about: harbhajan singh, darell hair
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