Asif lashes out at ICC for recalling Hair

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Lahore, Apr 12 (UNI) Strongly criticising the ICC's decision to reinstate controversial Australian umpire Darrell Hair, former captain Asif Iqbal has warned that the decision could result in conflicts, both on and off the field.

''I cannot convince myself that this decision (of the ICC to reinstate Hair) is in any way in the best interests of the game, for it carries potential of conflict and much unpleasantness both on and off the field,'' Iqbal was qouted as saying by the local media.

''Pakistan is not the only Asian side that feels less than comfortable when he is officiating. Why must a man who makes some teams uncomfortable be forced on them?'' he added. ''The fact that some international sides clearly have problems with him should be enough to keep him out of the Panel.

''Surely, principle must be to appoint someone who enjoys confidence of both contesting teams. It is this principle that brought about the entire concept of the Elite Panel of umpires.'' Hair was was banned from umpiring by the ICC after the forfeited Oval Test in August 2006 between England and Pakistan which was marred by a ball-tampering controversy.

''Quite apart from the argument whether someone who was found on the basis of ICC code of conduct inquiry to have got it so horribly wrong at The Oval and then proposed a financial pay-off to walk away from it all can ever be regarded as an Elite umpire,'' Asif remarked.

''The ICC's decision becomes even more difficult to understand in light of its own admission that in all probability, Hair will not be appointed to stand in a match featuring Pakistan.'' UNI XC AB RKM KP1805

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