Karachi, Apr 12 : Former Pakistan Test captain Asif Iqbal has criticised ICC's decision to reinstate controversial Australian umpire Darrell Hair, saying it would not be in the best interests of the game.
He said that Pakistan was not the only Asian cricketing side that opposed Hair's reinstatement as umpire for officiating in international games.
"I cannot convince myself that this decision 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. 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?" the Dawn quoted Asif as saying.
He added: "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 (55) has not taken charge of a match featuring high-profile teams since the forfeited Oval Test in August 2006 involving England and Pakistan.
"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 payoff to walk away from it all can ever be regarded as an Elite umpire. The fact that some international sides clearly have problems with him should be enough to keep him out of the Panel," lamented Asif.
He further said: "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."