ICC may let players challenge umpires

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The Independent Online

The International Cricket Council is considering using England's Test series at home to South Africa in July to test a referral system on umpiring decisions.

Subject to approval by the England and South Africa national boards, players may be allowed a fixed number of challenges to umpires' decisions, which would be referred to the television official. Presently, only the onfield umpires can refer decisions to the third umpire.

The ICC has confirmed that the Australian Darrell Hair is unlikely to umpire any Tests or one-day internationals involving Pakistan in the near future. The governing body said yesterday that no conditions had been attached to Hair's return to the elite panel of umpires, but said common sense would prevail when appointing match officials.

Hair was removed from the elite panel after a row over alleged ball-tampering during the 2006 Oval Test between Pakistan and England. The former Pakistan captain Inzamam ul-Haq, who was involved in the Oval controversy, called the decision to allow Hair to return "a shocker" and called for the ICC to review the matter.