Criticised by India, Harper withdraws from 3rd Test
Bridgetown: Criticised by the Indian cricket team for his poor decisions in the first cricket Test against the West Indies, controversial Australian umpire Daryl Harper on Wednesday withdrew from the third match starting July 6 at Roseau.
He will be replaced by Englishman Richard Kettleborough of the Emirates Elite Panel of ICC Umpires.
The third Test was to be Harper`s final match as umpire of the elite panel.
"Emirates Elite Panel umpire Daryl Harper has withdrawn from the third Test between India and the West Indies, which is due to start in Dominica on 6 July. His decision was made despite the fact that the ICC had full confidence in him to officiate the remainder of the series," ICC said in a statement.
Expressing regret over over Harper`s decision to withdraw, ICC General Manager (Cricket) David Richardson said the criticism from the Indian cricket team was "unfair".
"In the wake of some unfair criticism, Daryl has informed us that he does not wish to stand in what would have been his final Test," said Richardson.
"The reality of the situation is that Daryl`s statistics show his correct decision percentage in Tests involving India is 96 per cent, which is considerably higher than the international average for top-level umpires.”
"We have every faith in Daryl to finish the series and while we regret his decision we do respect it. The real shame is it deprives him of the opportunity to sign off as a Test match umpire in a manner befitting someone who has served the game so well since making his international debut back in 1994," Richardson said.
The 59-year-old Harper has stood in 95 Tests, 174 ODIs and 10 T20Is since his his ODI debut in January 1994 at Perth in a match between New Zealand and South Africa. In November 1998, he made his Test debut as Australia took on England in the Ashes at the same venue.
The Indian cricket team had blasted Harper for his poor decisions in the first Test of the ongoing series against the West Indies and a senior cricketer had said that they would not want him in the third match.
Skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni did little to hide his disgust at Harper`s decisions after the match.
"If correct decisions were made, the game would have ended much earlier and we would have been in the hotel by now," Dhoni said after India won the first Test by 63 runs.
The Indians were upset that Harper made at least three critical errors against India -- dismissals of Suresh Raina, Harbhajan Singh and Dhoni -- and three in favour of West Indies -- Darren Bravo (twice) and Shivnarine Chanderpaul (once).
Harper also needled the Indians by banning Praveen Kumar from bowling for treading on to the `danger area` of the pitch in his follow-through in the first innings.
The controversial Australian umpire has given a number of dubious decisions in his career.
The ICC apparently has also come round to the general perception and declared that Harper will stand down after the termination of his contract in July 2011.
Indian cricketers had been at the receiving end of Harper`s decisions for some years, including the one during the Australia tour in 1999-2000 when he gave Sachin Tendulkar out lbw in a Test when the batsman had ducked and was hit on his shoulder off a Glenn McGrath delivery.
Harper promptly gave Tendulkar out though he was to say later `the one (decision) that I would like the world to forget is the Sachin one.`