Melbourne: Former ICC Elite panel umpire Darrell Hair is not at all surprised by the allegations of fixing against match officials, and said such rumours started doing rounds since the birth of the cash-rich Indian Premier League.
Hair’s statement came after the ICC has launched an “urgent investigation” into the claims made by an Indian television channel that several umpires were willing to fix matches for money in the just-concluded Twenty20 World Cup and Sri Lanka Premier League.
“I was wondering how long it would take before some umpire did some stupid things,” he said. “There have been rumours going around for ages, since the IPL started, that umpires were involved,” Hair was quoted as saying by the Australian Associated Press.
“It all comes down to two things: opportunity and greed. If you’re the type of person and you’re given the opportunity, the greedy part of you will say, ‘Yeah, I’m in’.”
The six umpires, who are purportedly shown in the India TV sting willing to fix matches, are Nadeem Ghauri and Anees Siddiqui of Pakistan, Nadir Shah of Bangladesh, and Gamini Dissanayake, Maurice Winston and Sagara Gallage of Sri Lanka.
“In my whole career, there had always been word that certain umpires were on the take here or there,” said Hair, who resigned as an international umpire in 2008 after an illustrious career of 16 years.
“But to be fair, all the guys I umpired with at the international level I think were pretty much above board. But I don’t doubt that there have been others around, probably in a lesser environment, trying to make a quick buck,” Hair said.
Hair also served as the executive officer at the New South Wales Cricket Umpires and Scorers Association following his retirement until last year.
“When I was working back at Cricket NSW, some of the Australian guys had been over there (the subcontinent) coaching and they just expressed surprise at things that were going on in that IPL,” he said.
“They couldn’t nail anything — it’s a bit difficult when they are talking in a different language.
“Some games were going along perfectly well and then all of a sudden all hell breaks loose, there is a flurry of wickets and all of a sudden you have lost a game that you were comfortably winning,” a amused Hair said.
Hair also came hard on the ICC and said he had little faith in the international body defeating corruption in the game.
“The ICC are completely reactive in their way of doing things.
“They say they don’t have the legal powers that police have got for phone taps and that sort of thing, but I don’t buy that,” he said.
“I reckon the ICC should be above any law if they want to tap phones to ensure that the game is clean,” Hair added.