London: With Pakistan and England returning to The Oval for the third Test for the first time after the 2006 fiasco, former Australian umpire Darell Hair has said that “politics” played the biggest role in the abandonment of the infamous match four years ago.
On field umpires Hair and his West Indian counterpart Billy Doctrove had awarded the match to England after Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul-Haq- refused to take his team on to the field following tea on the fourth day after having been penalised for ball tampering.
The decision was disputed by the MCC and in 2009 the ICC reversed it back to an England victory.
Hair, who appeared on the BBC Radio’s Test Match Special programme, blamed both Pakistani and ECB officials for the mess four years ago.
“We played on until tea, so, I suppose you could say by playing on the players accepted what happened. It wasn’t until they got back into the dressing room that politics got involved,” The Dawn quoted Hair, as saying.
Hair was removed from the International Cricket Council (ICC) Elite Panel of umpires after the match, but returned to Test umpiring during the two match series between England and New Zealand in 2008 before quitting to take up umpire coaching roles in Australia.
Responding to allegations that the decision to award the match to England was his alone, Hair said Doctrove played an equal part in whatever happened.
“He played an equal part. I’d like to see any tape of me frogmarching Billy around,” he said.