|Rediff India Abroad Home | All the sections|
Australians rally behind sacked Hair
November 05, 2006 16:24 IST
Players, umpires, officials and media were united in their condemnation of world cricket's ruling body after Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh joined forces to vote him off the elite panel.
"It's disgusting," former Australian Test captain Neil Harvey told the Sunday Telegraph. "He's probably the best around but it shows you the influence of the Asian nations."
Hair's sacking came after Pakistan lodged a complaint over his role in the forfeited Test against England.
Another former Australia Test captain, Bob Simpson, said Hair had been punished for taking a stand on issues which other umpires were unwilling to address.
"It's just a tragedy," Simpson said. "He has shown great courage in making decisions which other umpires are not brave enough to make."
Australian cricket officials pledged their ongoing support for Hair, saying he was welcome to continue his career in the domestic first-class competition.
"Cricket Australia would welcome him back with open arms," CA spokesman Peter Young told the Australian Associated Press. "He is one of the best going around."
Australian captain Ricky Ponting, speaking to reporters in India after being named the ICC's best player of the year, was also disappointed by the decision, saying Hair was popular among players for his tough but fair approach.
"I've always felt he's been a terrific umpire," Ponting said. "I'm surprised by it and disappointed for him."
Australian media said Hair's sacking was proof that the Asian bloc were using their numbers to seize control of world cricket.
"Whether it be chasing the rights to host a World Cup, getting officials in important positions or getting rid of an umpire, the Asian bloc gets what it wants," wrote the Sunday Telegraph's chief cricket Robert Craddock.
"Hair's axing sets a chilling precedent, as other umpires will now be running scared of offending any or all of the four subcontinental nations...who might, at times, loathe each other, but invariably vote together on important issues."