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Hair: A man who sold the world

The Aussie umpire, who most in the sub-continent believe is prejudiced, has given them reasons to smile, writes Pradeep Magazine.

india Updated: Aug 27, 2006 12:30 IST

At first, one did not know how to react.

Disbelief was the first reaction when news broke that Darrell Hair has offered to resign from the ICC Elite Panel of Umpires if he were paid a compensation of $5 lakh.

The reason was simple. In a world divided by race, religious loyalties and an acute sense of injustice among those who feel discriminated against, Hair was still seen by many as someone who always interpreted the law according to its letter but missed out the spirit behind it.

Some of his critics were willing to defend him only because they felt he was a no-nonsense man and wasn't afraid to call a spade a spade, even if his methods were a bit ham-handed.

I presume the worldview on Hair must have changed after what the ICC's Chief Executive Malcolm Speed had to say on Friday afternoon in London. On the face of it, Hair had again done nothing wrong. Fearing a sack, he was within his rights to seek compensation for securing his future for the loss of his job.

Fair enough. If the man believed he has still four years of umpiring left in him and if he quit his job he needed to be dealt with fairly, there is nothing wrong in that.

However, what his fans will now find difficult to defend is that their "hero", who only cared for the law and was the upholder of the "glorious" traditions of the game, turns out to be another mercenary, for whom money matters more than defending the honour of his tribe.

The man, who most in the sub-continent believe is prejudiced, if not downright racist, has given them reasons to smile and tell the world that 'we told you not to take him at his face value'.

In many ways I'm a bit disappointed. I thought the man was an extreme example of some one who believed in what he was doing and did not care what the world had to say. A believer in principles and not in human spirit is always a dangerous man, but a man who can even sell his principles for a few dollars more is never to be trusted.

What these revelations have done is to make Hair an untrustworthy man and in many ways has vindicated Inzamam-ul-Haq's stand. I don't see now how the ICC will be able to defend him.

First Published: Aug 27, 2006 02:31 IST