Ball tampering controversy in August 2006

Ball tampering controversy in August 2006

On 20 August, 2006, during the fourth day of the fourth Test between England and Pakistan at The Oval, Darrel Hair and fellow umpire Billy Doctrove ruled that the Pakistani team had been involved in ball tampering. They awarded five penalty runs to England and offered them a replacement ball. The Pakistani players refused to take the field after the tea break in protest at the decision.[1] The umpires left the field, directed the Pakistani players to resume play and returned once more 15 minutes later. After waiting two more minutes the umpires removed the bails and declared England winners by forfeiture. This was the first such end to a Test match in over 1000 tests. The Pakistani team did take to the field 25 minutes later, 55 minutes after the umpires first took to the field for a resumption of play, but by then it was Hair and Doctrove themselves who refused to continue the game stating that the game had already ended with a Pakistani forfeiture the moment the bails were removed, even though both teams were willing to continue the match. The Test was abandoned, with the match awarded to England.[2]



The ICC, ECB and PCB later affirmed that the decision to award the match to England was in accordance with the laws of cricket.[3] However, it caused much debate in the cricketing world, with former cricketer Michael Atherton criticising Hair for not continuing the game.[4] Nasser Hussain sided with Inzamam, saying that he would have done exactly what Inzamam did,[5] while Steve Waugh backed the umpires' decision, saying "No-one is bigger than the game. The laws are there for a reason."[6] Michael Holding described the umpires' initial penalty for ball tampering as "insensitive" and said that every law has room for flexibility.[7] Imran Khan called Hair an "umpiring fundamentalist", and commented that "Such characters court controversy",[8] while Wasim Akram called for Hair to be sacked.[9]

It was revealed in an ICC news conference on 25 August that after the game, Hair had offered his resignation from the ICC Elite Umpire Panel. In an e-mail entitled "The Way Forward" addressed to Doug Cowie, the ICC's umpire manager, and with apparent reference to an earlier conversation between the two not yet made public by the ICC, Hair stated he would resign from his position in return for a non-negotiable one-off payment of US$500,000 directly into Hair's bank account. This was to be kept confidential by both sides. Hair was in contract with the ICC until March 2008, and the payment was said to compensate for the loss of future earnings and retainer payments. He subsequently revoked this offer.[10] Hair had stated that the sum of US$500,000 was to be compensation for the four or more years he would have umpired for had this controversy not happened, which he claimed would be "the best years he had to offer international umpiring". Hair had previously suggested, however, in an April 2006 interview that he might give up umpiring at the end of the World Cup saying "I'm not so sure that after another 12 months I'll have the passion to keep enjoying it."[11] In the press conference, the ICC's chairman Malcolm Speed did not offer any assurances about Hair's future.[12]

On 27 August, Hair responded to the release of the e-mails by stating that the ICC had been in negotiations with him prior to him sending them.[13] He was quoted as saying: "During an extended conversation with Mr Cowie, I was invited to make a written offer. The figure in the e-mail correspondence was in line with those canvassed with the ICC." The ICC however denied they had invited a claim.[14][15] In a press conference on 28 September 2006 Umpire Hair reiterated that he never considered retirement.[16]

ICC hearing

On 28 September, the ICC match referee Ranjan Madugalle chairing the hearing on Inzamam's case acquitted him of the ball tampering charge stating "Having regard to the seriousness of the allegation of ball-tampering (it is an allegation of cheating), I am not satisfied on the balance of probabilities that there is sufficiently cogent evidence that the fielding team had taken action likely to interfere with the condition of the ball" in his official report,[17] but banned him for four one day internationals for bringing the game into disrepute.[18][19] Each ICC-appointed match official, Hair, Doctrove, Jesty, Cowie, Procter, and Peter Hartley, was of the opinion that markings on the ball indicated tampering.[20] However Geoffrey Boycott, testifying before the panel stated, "That's a good ball, not just a playable ball."[21] Another witness, Simon Hughes, the TV analyst, testified that Hair was "guessing", and the ball was in "pretty good condition", when he examined it.[22] After the hearing in a press conference, Pakistan Cricket Board's (PCB) chairman Shahryar Khan revealed that his board had not ruled out calling for charges of bringing the game into disrepute against Hair.[23] At a press conference after the hearing the ICC announced that Hair would not be umpiring at the 2006 ICC Champions Trophy because of security concerns.[24] The BCCI stated that they were bothered by the controversy surrounding Hair rather than any security issues[25][26] but Malcolm Speed wrote that these had been raised by independent advisors.[27]


On 4 November 2006, Hair was banned from officiating in international matches by the ICC following a two-day meeting held by the ICC. The announcement was made by ICC President, Percy Sonn in Mumbai, India, in a press conference.[28]

"He shall not be allowed to officiate in any future international games until the end of this contract [which ends in March 2008]" Percy Sonn, ICC President[28]

Both Malcolm Speed, CEO of the ICC, and Sonn, stated that although Hair has been banned from tests, there is "no issue" with the result of the Oval Test match, which Pakistan forfeited.[28] The decision was met with praise from the Pakistani board, who had previously called for Hair to be sacked.[29] It was widely rumoured on 3 November 2006, that Hair was going to be banned, after a "reliable source" leaked information to an Indian television network.[28] The unnamed source said that 10 test playing nations voted on whether Hair should be allowed to continue, with the West Indies, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe, South Africa and Bangladesh all voting for Hair to be removed, while England, Australia and New Zealand supported him.[28] The voting at the decision to ban Hair was seen by some to reflect the perception of Hair in different countries.[30] Most Asian commentators welcomed the move. Javed Miandad said that such a move by ICC sets an example that meant "all other umpires will be under pressure to take the right decisions"[31] and Bangladesh Captain Habibul Bashar also supported the decision.[32] The former Sri Lankan captain Arjuna Ranatunga welcomed the decision to ban Hair, commenting that "Hair had a prejudice against Asian teams. I am happy that he is finally out. The decision will do good to future cricket.".[33]

The majority of criticism against the decision to ban Hair from matches involving test nations has come from his home country of Australia. Ricky Ponting said he was surprised by the ICC's move to ban Hair[34] and Cricket Australia demanded the ICC explain the reasons for Hair being stood down.[35] Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland said "Umpires need to have confidence in the system - that they are supported by best-practice administration and processes."[36] The Australian media has also been critical of the decision. News Corps Robert Craddock said: "Having seen how brutally Hair was abandoned after his tough call, only a brave or foolish umpire would be courageous enough to throw himself into the lion's den."[37]

At the time, Hair had not ruled out taking legal action after the decision.[38] Billy Doctrove, the other umpire during the Oval Test, is unaffected by the ICC's ban on Hair,[28] though he was overlooked for the 2006 ICC Champions Trophy.[39]

In the aftermath of the Oval incident Hair was voted Umpire of the Season in a poll carried out by The Wisden Cricketer, with more than a third of the votes. [40] A leaked ICC report showed that immediately before the Oval incident, Hair was ranked the second-best umpire in the world overall and number one in terms of decision-making statistics.[41]

Racial discrimination allegations

In February 2007 Hair announced he was suing the ICC and the Pakistan Cricket Board on grounds of racial discrimination. Hair alleged that he was made a scapegoat when he was barred from officiating Test matches after the forfeited Oval Test, as no action was taken against his fellow umpire Billy Doctrove who officiated in the same match.[42]

The statement from Hair issued via his solicitor Mark Stephens [43]:

"I can confirm I have instructed my lawyers, Finers Stephens Innocent, 179 Portland Street, London, to issue an application to the London Central Employment Tribunal," he said, "alleging racial discrimination from the International Cricket Council and the Pakistan Cricket Board. Therefore it is inappropriate for me to make further comment as this matter is yet to be determined by the tribunal."

"I haven't spoken to anybody about this. I hope you understand that I haven't released any information about this. Somebody else obviously has. I've got no idea who but I value confidentially, unfortunately I've discovered other people don't."

In response to this move by Hair, Dr. Naseem Ashraf, chairman PCB, said "Mr Hair was removed from the ICC panel of umpires because of his bad umpiring and his poor judgement."[44]

In a statement in reply to the notification of Hair against PCB , Ashraf further went on to say

"It is crass for him to say a black West Indian was let off [whereas] he was a white man and therefore he was charged. Mr Hair was the senior umpire and he literally took over that Oval cricket match. I was present there. "There was only one man that evening that did not want cricket to be played. [It was] a black spot on the history of cricket thanks to Mr Hair."[45]

However, on 9 October 2007 Hair dropped his discrimination case. The ICC said Hair would undergo a development programme over the next six months seemingly with the goal to place him back into top level matches. During this six month period he will continue to officiate in second tier ICC associate matches. The ICC restored Hair to the Elite Umpiring Panel on 12 March 2008.[46] However, on 22 August 2008 Hair handed in his resignation to the ICC in order to take up a coaching role after he was only allowed to officiate in two tests in May and June 2008 between England and New Zealand.[47] He had been an international umpire for 16 years.


  1. ^ "Inzamam charged by ICC". The Guardian. 21 August 2006. 
  2. ^ Cricinfo - As the chaos unfolded
  3. ^ "Test farce amid tampering fracas". Sydney Morning Herald. 21 August 2006. 
  4. ^ Cricinfo - As the chaos unfolded
  5. ^ "Oval decision drives Darrell Hair into a lonely corner". The Hindu (Chennai, India). 22 August 2006. 
  6. ^ "Waugh backs the umpires". Fox Sports. 22 August 2006.,8659,20208381-23212,00.html. 
  7. ^ "Holding critical of 'first-world hypocrisy'". Cricinfo. 28 August 2006. 
  8. ^ Cricinfo - Former Pakistani players back Inzamam
  9. ^ Samiuddin, Osman (22 August 2006). "Mini Hitler taunts in Pakistan - and bruises for Inzi". The Guardian (London).,,1855413,00.html. Retrieved 1 May 2010. 
  10. ^ Cricinfo - Full transcript of emails
  11. ^ Cricinfo - Doctrove moves into the spotlight
  12. ^ "Umpire offered to resign for cash". BBC News. 25 August 2006. Retrieved 1 May 2010. 
  13. ^ "ICC asked me to make offer: Hair". Sydney Morning Herald. 28 August 2006. 
  14. ^ Cricinfo - Hair hits back at the ICC
  15. ^ The Independent Online - Hair says ICC encouraged his $500,000 offer to resign
  16. ^ Cricinfo - Hair never considered retirement
  17. ^ Cricinfo - Ranjan Mudagalle's decision in full
  18. ^ "'Inzamam cleared of ball tampering'". CricInfo. 28 September 2006. 
  19. ^ "'Disrepute ban for skipper Inzamam'". BBC. 28 September 2006. 
  20. ^ Cricinfo - Ranjan Mudagalle's decision in full
  21. ^ Waraich, Omar (29 September 2006). "How Boycott swung the verdict". The Guardian (London).,,1883674,00.html. Retrieved 1 May 2010. 
  22. ^ "Hair 'guessed' at ball-tampering". BBC News. 29 September 2006. Retrieved 1 May 2010. 
  23. ^ "PCB considers disrepute charge against Hair". Cricinfo. 28 September 2006. 
  24. ^ "Hair out of Champions Trophy'". DNA Sport. 28 September 2006. 
  25. ^ Williamson, Martin (26 September 2006). "Indian board opposes Hair standing in Champions Trophy". CricInfo. 
  26. ^ Cricinfo - Security not an issue - BCCI
  27. ^ Cricinfo - Speed backs Hair to stand again
  28. ^ a b c d e f Siddhartha Vaidyanathan (4 November 2006). "Hair banned from officiating in internationals". Retrieved 5 November 2006. 
  29. ^ IOL: Pakistan praise ICC for Hair removal
  30. ^ Cricket gets its badly needed Hair-cut
  31. ^ IOL: Pakistan praise ICC for Hair removal
  32. ^
  33. ^
  34. ^ "Pakistan celebrate Hair decision". BBC News. 5 November 2006. Retrieved 1 May 2010. 
  35. ^ Conn, Malcolm (7 November 2006). "CA condemns Hair sacking". The Australian.,20867,20712205-5001505,00.html. 
  36. ^ SuperCricket
  37. ^ Craddock, Robert (4 November 2006). "Chilling rule of Asian overlords". The Sunday Mail (Qld).,,20701058-10389,00.html. 
  38. ^
  39. ^ HOW THE DRAMA UNFOLDED | Sporting Life - Cricket News | Live Cricket Scores, New Zealand v England, CB Series, Live Coverage & Stats
  40. ^ Cricinfo - Hair voted Umpire of the Year
  41. ^ Cricinfo - Hair praised by ICC immediately before being sacked
  42. ^ "Hair to sue cricket authorities". 7 February 2007. Retrieved 7 February 2007. 
  43. ^ "Hair to sue cricket authorities". cricinfo. 8 February 2007. Retrieved 8 February 2007. 
  44. ^ Hair sues cricket boards for 'racial discrimination'. 08/02/2007. ABC News Online
  45. ^ Cricinfo - PCB responds to Hair sue threat
  46. ^ Hair restored as ICC elite umpire BBC News retrieved 12 March 2008
  47. ^ Hair quits to focus on coaching

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