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Was Pakistan dissent justified?

August 21, 2006 12:24 IST
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Darrell Hair was in the eye of the storm again. The Australian, with fellow umpire Billy Doctrove charged Pakistan of ball-tampering and slapped a penalty of five runs during the fourth Test against England on Sunday. With the umpires refusing to offer any explanation or evidence on the issue, Pakistan forfeited the match giving England a 3-0 series win.

Hair, who has been involved in several controversies with teams from the sub-continent in the past, and Doctrove walked out to the middle alone, then returned to the pavilion as Pakistan's players staged a protest by remaining in the dressing room.

The umpires walked out again 15 minutes later, this time followed by England batsmen Paul Collingwood and Ian Bell, but Pakistan again failed to show up.

The situation took a new turn around 45 minutes after the scheduled restart when Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul-Haq led his side out, then straight back in, as this time the umpires did not emerge. Pakistan Cricket Board head Shaharyar Khan said his players categorically denied they had tampered with the ball. "No one was consulted, no one was told... they felt deeply aggrieved."

Pakistan coach Bob Woolmer said Hair had entered the Pakistan dressing room after they had first failed to reappear and asked Inzamam if he was forfeiting the game.

Woolmer said Inzamam had countered by asking why the ball had been changed but Hair had refused to discuss the matter and left.

The Pakistani bowlers have, in the past, been guilty of ball-tampering. But with no conclusive evidence against them on Sunday, was Pakistan justified in staging the protest? Is Darrell Hair the villain of the piece again?

Tell us.

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