Hair: 'Politics' caused chaos
London - Darrell Hair blamed "politics" for the abandonment of the 2006 Test between England and Pakistan at The Oval, as the teams returned to the scene for the first time on Wednesday.
Four years ago, Australian umpire Hair and West Indian on-field colleague Billy Doctrove awarded the Test to England after Pakistan refused to take the field following tea on the fourth day, having been penalised for ball-tampering and been deducted five runs in the preceding session.
It was a decision that would ultimately cost Hair his career as an international umpire but he told BBC Radio's Test Match Special programme on Wednesday the players had been fine with a move that led to Pakistan becoming the first side ever to forfeit a Test.
However, Hair said it was the involvement of officials from both the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) that saw the decision become a major incident.
Hair, who is writing an autobiography, told Test Match Special: "We played on until tea (so) I suppose you could say by playing on (the players) accepted what happened.
"It wasn't until they got back into the dressing room that politics got involved.
"Too many people got involved from Pakistan and from the ECB as well.
"I'm not about to name the persons involved -- I will be in my book -- but there is no doubt they got themselves involved when they shouldn't have, and that further inflamed the situation.
"The PCB thought they had some allies who would assist them. The Pakistan team accepted the ruling until they got back in the dressing room."
At the time there was a widespread belief that Hair, as the senior umpire, had taken the lead in the decision.
But the Laws of Cricket specifically state that penalty runs can only be awarded by the "umpires" and not one official alone.
"He played an equal part," said Hair of Doctrove's role. "I'd like to see any tape of me frogmarching Billy around.
"There was no coercion and those things can't happen unless both umpires agree.
"I'm an easy target because strength of character can be mistaken for arrogance or obstinacy.
"If Billy had said, 'I don't think the condition of the ball had changed', we would have carried on."
Hair, now 57, was removed from the International Cricket Council (ICC) elite umpire panel after the match at The Oval but returned to take charge of two Tests between England and New Zealand in 2008 before quitting the international game to take up umpire coaching roles in Australia.
"I got over it many years ago," said Hair of the 2006 Oval Test
"I got back to doing what I wanted to do and I finished umpiring a Test match at Trent Bridge. For me that was the perfect ending.
"I knew exactly what had happened at the time and I did my job to the best of my ability.
"There are a couple of people who worked for the ICC who lied and I don't have much time for them."
ICC chiefs, under pressure from Pakistan, briefly amended the result to a draw before reverting back to the original decision of an England win.
"It took some time but it proved that the decision that was made at the time was proven to be correct and that's all I care about," said Hair.