PCB chief 'outraged' by Hair threat

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The Independent Online

Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Dr Nasim Ashraf has dismissed umpire Darrell Hair's apparent decision to sue his organisation and the International Cricket Council as "opportunism".

Hair is reportedly ready to sue the ICC and PCB for racial discrimination after the world governing body decided in November that the Australian umpire would not be selected for international matches involving full members - the 10 major Test-playing nations.

Hair was at the centre of last summer's historic forfeited Test match between England and Pakistan at The Oval.

The tourists staged a sit-in protest at the decision of Hair and fellow umpire Billy Doctrove to replace the match ball, effectively accusing them of illegal tampering.

Pakistan's refusal to take the field eventually resulted in the Test becoming the first ever to be forfeited.

Hair then offered to resign as an elite umpire in return for US dollars 500,000, while Pakistan were later cleared of ball tampering at an ICC hearing.

While fellow umpire, West Indian Billy Doctrove, has returned to the game Hair has not stood in a Test match since, but is umpiring today's ICC World Cricket League Division One final between Kenya and Scotland in Nairobi.

According to the BBC, Hair claims the PCB "unlawfully induced" the ICC to ban him last year.

The ICC would not comment on the report this morning.

However, Ashraf told BBC Radio Four's Today programme: "I am just simply outraged. I can't believe it, this is adding insult to injury. Race has nothing to do with this.

"Mr Hair was removed from the elite panel of umpires by the full ICC board which has many countries including England and Australia which are non-white.

"I am just flabbergasted. This is the most preposterous thing I've heard, when our lawyer told me we had received a letter from his solicitors accusing the ICC of racial discrimination and naming the Pakistan Cricket Board as a party to this issue.

"Mr Hair was removed from the ICC panel of umpires because of his bad umpiring and poor judgement.

"I think this is probably another manifestation of Mr Hair's mental status.

"I daresay it sounds almost as if he's not only just very impetuous or stubborn, if he made a mistake a man should have stood up and said 'I made a mistake'.

"For him earlier to have also asked for a half a million dollars during the incident and saying 'look, give me this money and I will simply walk away', and now suing the ICC and naming the PCB as a party for racial discrimination, smacks to me of another bit of, perhaps, opportunism."

Ashraf claimed Hair's belief that Doctrove received fairer treatment as laughable.

"That is even worse. I read that and just laughed out aloud because it is crass for him to say a black West Indian umpire was let off when he was a white man therefore he was charged. This (race) has nothing to do with it. Mr Hair was the senior umpire and he actually took over that Oval cricket match. I was present there.

"We have brought to the ICC even before, many instances in which Mr Hair had almost brought Test cricket into disrepute by making decisions that were impetuous, hasty, ill-considered and without any basis of fact. And that is why ultimately he had it coming from his umpiring standpoint."