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Hair was only 'guessing': Expert witness

TV analyst Simon Hughes says he examined the ball and it was in "pretty good condition".

india Updated: Oct 09, 2006 14:30 IST

Umpire Darrell Hair was only "guessing" when he decided to penalise Pakistan for ball tampering, according to TV analyst Simon Hughes, one of the three experts who gave evidence at the disciplinary hearing of skipper Inzamam-ul Haq.

"The problem was Hair was guessing, using the flimsiest evidence," the former Middlesex and Durham seam bowler said.

"The marks on the ball were not blatant enough for the drastic measures Hair took," he said.

Inzamam was cleared of ball tampering by ICC adjudicator Ranjan Madugalle on Thursday but banned from four ODIs for bringing the game into disrepute -- charges laid by Hair and fellow umpire Billy Doctrove which ultimately led to the fourth Test between England and Pakistan at The Oval being forfeited.

Writing in the 'Daily Telegraph', Hughes said when he examined the ball it was in "pretty good condition".

"There were a number of small abrasions on the rough side, fairly typical of normal wear and tear on a deteriorating Test pitch.

"The only thing that looked slightly suspicious was a number of slightly curved striations concentrated on one area. I concluded that those could have been man-made scratches but there was no way I could be sure. There was no hard evidence of ball-tampering," he wrote.

First Published: Sep 29, 2006 16:06 IST