The calling of Sri Lankan off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan by Darrell Hair on Boxing Day in 1995 was the first and probably, till now, the most famous of his rigid and often, very controversial decisions. The umpire from Down Under though, has a history of clashing swords with players, almost invariably non-white. We take a look at some of the other incidents that ensured that Hair, with different coumpires, always remained in the eye of the storm.
December 26, 1995
Muralitharan was no-balled twice in an over by Hair on the first day of the second Test against Australia in Perth, and then thrice in the next over. The five calls provoked an immediate response by Lankan captain Arjuna Ranatunga who left the field to take advice from the team management. He returned and continued with Muralitharan who was called two more times in his very next over. Ranatunga reintroduced him from umpire Steve Dunne's end. In his book, "Decision Maker", Hair reports, at the end of the tea break he stated he would call Muralitharan no matter which end he bowled from, but he did not do so. The seven calls were the first ever made against Murali and first against a visiting bowler in Australia and the greatest number in a match since those by umpire Andrew Barlow against Eddie Gilbert in 1931.
February 12, 1999 Hair escapes in bowler row
Hair escaped punishment over controversial comments he made about Muralitharan. He had been charged by the ICC on four counts of misconduct over comments he made against Murali in his memoirs. A panel established by the Australian Board found him guilty on two charges of bringing the game into disrepute, but decided not to punish him. Hair called the bowler's action "diabolical".
December 1999 Akhtar reported
Shoaib Akhtar was first reported by match referee John Reid after umpires Hair and Peter Willey questioned the bowler's action during Pakistan's third Test against Australia in Perth in December 1999. Shoaib was banned temporarily but it was revoked after then ICC president Jagmohan Dalmiya intervened.
October 5, 2000 Hair trimmed after protest
Hair was not allowed to officiate in any of Lanka's ICC Trophy matches following a protest by the island's cricket board. Chandrishan Perera, media manager of the Sri Lankan Board had lodged a strong protest against Hair, who had called Muralitharan during the 1995 a Melbourne Test. Muralitharan was subsequently cleared by the ICC while Hair was found guilty of misconduct last year for comments on the incident in his autobiography "Decision Maker".
October 8, 2003 Pollock fined for dissent
South African bowler Shaun Pollock was fined his entire match fee for showing dissent to Hair during a one-day game against Pakistan. The punishment was handed out by match referee Clive Lloyd after comments made by Pollock to Hair. "Umpires have a difficult enough task as it is and players must learn to respect their authority," Lloyd had said.
December 29, 2004 Gibbs fined for misleading umpire
South Africa opener Herschelle Gibbs was fined 40 per cent of his match fee for a "deliberate attempt to mislead an umpire" during the second Test against England. Gibbs was reported by Hair for pointing towards him following a delivery from Steve Harmison at the end of fourth day's play. Hair claimed Gibbs gestured at the top of his arm following an appeal to indicate he had not hit the ball. He pleaded guilty and was punished.
March 13, 2005 Balaji fined by ICC
Indian paceman L Balaji was fined 30 per cent of his match fee for excessive appealing in the drawn first Test against Pakistan. Balaji was reported by Hair and Rudi Koertzen. Match referee Chris Broad said: "There is no place for this sort of appealing."
March 20, 2005 Harbhajan’s action reported
Harbhajan Singh was reported for the second time using a suspected illegal bowling action in the second Test against Pakistan. Match referee Chris Broad made the decision to report the off-spinner after consultations with umpires Hair and Steve Bucknor. "The report relates specifically to the bowler's action when delivering the doosra," Broad had said. "It was noticeable to the umpires and me that there was an apparent change in action when bowling this delivery."
May 30, 2005 Shabbir's bowling action reported
Pakistan paceman Shabbir Ahmed was reported for a suspected bowling action. The report was made after the first Test against West Indies in Barbados. Shabbir claimed match figures of 5-136 in Pakistan's 276-run defeat in Barbados, which was umpired by David Shepherd and Hair.
November 21, 2005 Afridi banned for damaging pitch
This decision actually, was quite above board because Pakistan all-rounder Shahid Afridi was banned for a Test and two one-day internationals for damaging the pitch in the second Test against England. He was caught on TV scraping his boots on the surface when play was held up after a gas canister exploded. Umpire Hair and England batsman Marcus Trescothick noticed the difference when play resumed. Afridi later pleaded guilty.