Hair: Chucking crackdown two decades too late

Former umpire Darrell Hair is famous for being the first official to no-ball Muttiah Muralitharan for chucking, in 1995, and Hair now says if the ICC had done something back then, they’d not be having problems now.

The ICC have recently gone on a crackdown spree in terms of illegal bowling actions, banning a number of spinners in the past two months. This includes Saeed Ajmal, Kane Williamson, Prosper Utseya, and Sohag Gazi.

Hair told the Sydney Morning Herald: “Whatever they’re doing now, they’re doing 20 years too late. They had a chance in 1995 to clean things up and it’s taken them 19 years to finally come back and say they want chuckers out of the game.

“I can’t believe that Saeed Ajmal has been able to bowl as long as he has, and they say he is bending his arm by 45 degrees (15 degrees is the limit) or something. Well, every man and his dog would have known that.

“I suppose what it does show is the general weakness of the umpires over time to do anything about it.”

As for the Murali incident in ’95, the Australian said he was not afraid to call the world-famous spinner. Four years later, Ross Emerson did it again, and Hair said that was why the umpire was relegated to the background.

He said: “All I was doing at any time was just doing my job and I think I did it to the best of my ability. The fact was that no other ICC umpires were willing to have a go.

“Ross Emerson was very adamant about his thoughts about chuckers but they soon put him into the background.

“I suppose I was lucky I had a few games under my belt so they didn’t want to target me, but they certainly got him out of the way fairly swiftly.

“It’ll be interesting to see how many umpires are brave enough to get involved in it.

“I said it in the late ’90s that if something wasn’t done about it you’d have a generation of chuckers on your hands and now you have.”