LONDON, Aug 25, 2006 (AFP) – Australian umpire Darrell Hair is no stranger to controversy.
Hair, who sparked international cricket’s latest crisis after Pakistan’s forfeiture of the fourth and final Test, is a love-hate figure within the cricket world. He also delivered a bouncer to the ICC on Friday by revealing he had offered his resignation in the wake of the row in return for a payment of 500,000 dollars.
To his supporters the 53-year-old Australian is one of the last top-flight umpires confident enough to back his own judgment and uphold the game’s laws in full, whatever the cost.
To his critics, he is a spotlight-seeking pedant.
In 1995/96 he was centre stage at the Melbourne Cricket Ground where he called Sri Lanka off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan, whose career has been dogged by questions over the legitimacy of his action, for throwing.
Hair then further enraged Sri Lanka supporters, and many cricket fans within the Indian sub-continent especially, by branding Muralitharan’s action “diabolical” in his autobiography.
But as early as 1994 Peter Kirsten, the South Africa opening batsman, was fined 65 percent of his match fee for what Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack, the sport’s bible, called an “animated conversation” with Hair ove