Removing Darrell Hair From ICC Elite Panel of Umpires

Dear Mr. Malcom Speed (Cheif Executive Officer, ICC), You are undoubtedly aware of the unfortunate events that took place in London on August 20, 2006. This petition will review the critical events that took place at the Oval in order to reaffirm the stance of its signatories. We humbly request you take a few minutes to read this petition to fully understand the perspective of all those who have given it a voice. In the 56th over of the second England innings, umpire Darrell Hair unilaterally deemed the state of the ball to have been illegally changed by the fielding side, Pakistan. The umpires last inspected the ball in the 52nd over, upon the dismissal of Alistair Cook, implying that the state of the ball had been illegally changed within the time period spanned by approximately 4 overs. Umpire Darrell Hair informed both teams of his decision, and the ball was changed. Furthermore, for the first time in the 129-year history of Test cricket, five runs were rewarded to England as a penalty imposed on Pakistan for having tampered with the cricket ball. Umpire Darrell Hair did not and has not revealed the name of a particular player guilty of the offence, nor has he offered any other explanation for the incident. It is also critical to realize that this is first offence of its kind to not have been caught by any of the television cameras providing global coverage of the Test match. Sky Sports has ensured that no video evidence of the incident was detected by any of the 26 cameras located around the Oval on Sunday. It must be understood, as we are sure you do, that the implicit allegation behind the charge of ball tampering is cheating. The decision made by Umpire Darrell Hair is not one that can be held tantamount to controversial dismissals or questionable bowling actions, for neither of these two necessitate intention on the part of player(s) in question. However, the charge of ball tampering implies that an intentional attempt to cheat was made by the team being charged. Hence, it is of critical importance that the umpire making such a decision be willing and ready to explain his position and elicit all those involved. The charge transcends the outcome of the match and attacks the very pride that provides the impetus to engage in competitive sport. It is thus crucial, for both the benefit of the sport in question and the pride of the team under scrutiny that such charges be fully explained and all guilty parties duly punished. Umpire Darrell Hair has failed to provide this explanation. It is not unknown that Umpire Darrell Hair has courted controversy, and that in itself is not necessarily a negative attribute. However, the fact that the victims of his most controversial decisions have been members of the Indian subcontinent must be an issue of concern. Furthermore, his dictatorial stance on the game and condescending attitude towards those who play it, cannot be seen as a right protected by the aura of respect that dictates the relationship between players and umpires. While umpires are well within their rights to issue decisions as they see fit, they cannot be provided the right to tarnish the image of a certain player or certain team without due explanation. That is the subtle, yet significant, difference that the ICC must realize when investigating the chaotic turn of events that took place at the Oval. Thus, the signatories of this petition demand that Umpire Darrell Hair be removed from his position in the ICC Elite Panel of Umpires. His controversial decisions have been based solely on unexplained, subjective reasoning and have led to tarnished reputations. The fact that he is the only umpire to have gained such a reputation cannot be seen as a coincidence. While it is a blessing for a game to have confident officiators, the line between confidence and arrogance is very fine and must never be crossed. Any unbias spectator of cricket can tell you that Darrell Hair has crossed this line many times. He is an insult to the game of cricket and to the passions of the millions who follow it. We hope that you take our recommendation seriously. Thank you for your time. Regards,

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Cricket Fans Against Darrell Hair ** Comments have been taken out from the Signature Page because they were becoming offensive and virulent. ** ** A printed and electronic copy of this petition will be sent to the ICC on September 5th, 2006. This date is subject to change. **

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