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Darrell Hair needs to be eased out

Filed under: Sports by Hari
Posted on Wed, Aug 23, 2006 at 21:23 IST (last updated: Sun, May 24, 2009 @ 19:18 IST)

It won't be long before the raging fire over the Darrell Hair-Pakistan episode dies down. But it will remain yet another bitter episode in world cricket, constantly remaining under the surface, only to emerge when another controversy of this kind emerges. It's hard to be optimistic about the ICC's handling of such issues.

Everybody knows that the Pakistani cricketers are no angels and Inzamam's temper tantrums will earn him no sympathy. While the ICC is certainly right in punishing the Pakistani team for its refusal to continue the match, I think it's about time the powers-that-be seriously take a look at evaluating their own match officials and see where they're going wrong in managing unfortunate situations that arise during the progress of a match. After all, this is not the first time such a controversy has completely ruined a tour. Remember India in South Africa in 2001 and the Mike Denness issue? It's all very well declaring that the "letter of the law" has to be observed in such circumstances. Too often it's an easy excuse for making a mess of an issue by mishandling it. How about some skillful diplomacy and tact to defuse them? That would take some doing, wouldn't it? Or would that be too much to ask of semi-competent, half-baked amateurish match officials who have no training in professional management? After all, it's not a one-way street. Officials cannot always lay down the law ignoring everything else. The survival of cricket depends on mutual cooperation between players and officials. Yet the ICC continues acting in an authoritarian manner brushing aside all genuine criticism and throwing its weight around. All I can say is that it should wake up to reality before it becomes an irrelevant, orphaned entity and is ruthlessly pushed aside by all concerned.

Darrell Hair

When it comes to umpires involved regularly in controversies, two names come to mind - Steve Bucknor and Darrell Hair. Steve Bucknor's biases are pretty well known throughout the cricketing world. So much so that it's almost an institution by itself. As for Darrell Hair, he's been involved in so many controversies involving the sub-continent teams that it's hard to reject accusations of racism against him no matter how well-meaning his actions might be. Neither are particularly great as umpires. Both are supposed to be "experienced" veterans but neither seem to have benefitted from it. In fact, I would go as far as saying that Darrell Hair has always remained a mediocre umpire while Steve Bucknor has gone downhill at an alarming rate over the past few years. Yet, these umpires continue remaining on ICC's panel of umpires (elite or not) while decent umpires in the sub-continent are continuously being ignored. Fact #1: Ball-tampering is a particularly volatile issue because it's an accusation of cheating - as simple as that. Fact #2: Pakistan have a history of being involved in this issue and are probably more sensitive to it than other teams. Hair cannot pretend that he doesn't know the consequences of bringing up the issue. My only question is - forgetting everything else for the moment - when every other umpire can remain relatively controversy-free over a long career in spite of the pressures of the job, why does Hair seem to revel in it? Is it just his bad luck or is it something more than that?

Nevertheless, it's irrelevant whether Hair did the right thing or not in the incidents where he was involved. The fact is that he's a highly over-rated umpire who's been a controversy magnet over the years. Whether he chooses to attract them by his own over-officious attitude or whether he is a victim of circumstances is beside the point. World cricket simply cannot afford to tolerate prolonged mediocrity and incompetence. This should apply equally for players as well as officials. When players can get thrown out of their national teams for poor performance or due to politics, it's almost logical that officials should face the same music. It's time Darrell Hair gracefully retired or is gently eased out of the system.

Picture Courtesy: telegraph.co.uk

4 comment(s)

  1. You know, with a name like that, I was expecting to see the latest cartoon. . . ;)

    Comment by Dominic (visitor) on Fri, Aug 25, 2006 @ 02:36 IST #
  2. Dominic, so what's your take on the issue? :P

    Comment by hari (blog owner) on Fri, Aug 25, 2006 @ 08:42 IST #
  3. Oh man, when I first saw that picture, the buys profile looks just like my old V.P. at my previous job. It was literally hell working for someone so stupid. The nightmares stopped until I saw this picture, thanks Hari.. ;)

    Comment by Drew (visitor) on Tue, Aug 29, 2006 @ 07:29 IST #
  4. That's a good observation, Drew. ;) Could you make sense of this article? I think you might not be too familiar with Cricket, although I don't want to assume too much.

    Comment by hari (blog owner) on Tue, Aug 29, 2006 @ 08:18 IST #

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