Hair wins recall to elite umpires list after ICC ends ban

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The Independent Online

Darrell Hair has been cleared by the International Cricket Council to return as a Test and one-day international umpire with immediate effect.

Hair, 55, was sacked from the ICC's elite panel of umpires in November 2006 for his role in the Oval Test three months earlier when Pakistan became the first team to forfeit a Test.

Pakistan blamed Hair for the fiasco that occurred when they refused to return to the field after being penalised for alleged ball-tampering, with England awarded five extra runs. In the ensuing chain of events the ICC barred Hair from Tests and one-dayers.

An ICC code of conduct hearing then cleared the Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul-Haq of ball-tampering, although he was banned for four matches for bringing the game into disrepute.

Hair filed a lawsuit against the ICC in February last year but the case collapsed at an employment tribunal. He then underwent an ICC rehabilitation programme and has officiated in lesser matches.

The ICC has also cleared the way for a shorter 2011 World Cup, with a 14-team format – down from 16 after last year's tournament was criticised for being too long and unwieldy. It will be cut from 47 to 38 days if a recommendation by ICC chief executives is implemented.

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