Darrell Hair, the rotund Australian umpire, returns to the back pages of newspapers and homepages of websites next week when he appears at a London tribunal. Hair is suing his employers, the ICC, for racial discrimination – and here’s a brief overview of why.
England v Pakistan, 4th Test, The Oval, 4th day. August 20, 2006. Five penalty runs are awarded to England when Hair signal to the umpires of his conviction that the ball has been tampered with.
An early tea is taken, but Pakistan stage a protest after the interval and refuse to play. Hair, his colleague, Billy Doctrove, and the two England batsman walk out alone and wait for 15 minutes before the covers are brought on signalling the end of play.
Pakistan eventually do make it out onto the field, but by this stage Hair and Doctrove have already decided that the match has been awarded to England.
Cricket’s Law 21.3: “in the opinion of the umpires, if a team refuses to play, the umpires shall award the match to the other side.”
The match was then forfeited, England winning. In the following days it seemed likely that Hair’s position was increasingly untenable, with the Asian bloc threatening to gang up on him. So he responded in a quite remarkable manner by offering to leave, but only for a retainer of $500,000. This was a huge mistake and the ICC exploited his greed by revealing all, as they should have done.
In November he was banned from umpiring in internationals, owing to immense pressure from the Asian bloc who voted for his removal. England, Australia and New Zealand were the three who wanted him to stay. Billy Doctrove’s career, however, could continue and he was not banned.
In February he instructed his lawyers, Finers Stephens Innocent, to issue an application to the London Central Employment Tribunal alleging racial discrimination.
And this all kicks off on Monday, so I thought it best I get my head around it all beforehand. And there’s another twist: Inzamam-ul-Haq, the former Pakistan captain, has been summoned as a witness. If he doesn’t turn up – this is Inzy, remember – the tribunal have the authority to issue sanctions which could then lead to his arrest.
Nasty times. Keep your eyes peeled on Cricinfo for the latest.