Cricket: Hair-raising telephone threats to umpire

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The Independent Online
(First Edition)

The Australian Test umpire Darrell Hair had to change his phone number after receiving threatening calls, he said yesterday. Hair, who will be the neutral umpire for the West Indies-England Test series in the Caribbean later this year, told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation that the calls followed Australia's victory over South Africa in the third Test in Adelaide 10 days ago, when a number of his decisions provoked controversy. 'Hysteria,' he said, was the best word to describe the furore which surrounded some of his decisions, which were widely criticised in the media. 'I must admit it was fairly tough for the first couple of days after Adelaide,' he said. 'I had to change my phone number at home to an unlisted number.' His most controversial decision came on the final day when he judged the South African veteran Peter Kirsten leg before wicket to the fast bowler Craig McDermott. Hair remains conviced he made the right decision, though Kirsten claimed he hit the ball before it rapped his pads ad was subsequently fined about pounds 650 for dissent. In Admedabad, the left-arm spiner Venkatapathy Raju took six wickets as India completed a 3-0 series whitewash of Sri Lanka. India underlined their dominance with their third innings win, the margin this time an innings and 17 runs.