Off spinner Harbhajan Singh has reacted sharply to former Australian umpire Darrell Hair’s comment that some of Asia’s top spinners — Saqlain Mushtaq (Pakistan), Muttiah Muralitharan (Sri Lanka), and Harbhajan himself — are ‘role models’ for ‘chuckers’.
Hair told Sydney Morning Herald on Monday: “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. They try to emulate Harbhajan Singh, Saqlain Mushtaq and Muralitharan and that’s the problem. The crackdown should have happened on those players and the International Cricket Council (ICC) should have let it be known that it wasn’t acceptable.”
Harbhajan shot back yesterday: “This is too much. We didn’t cross the limit, but now Hair is crossing it.” He added: “Unka dimag theekane nahi (He seems to have gone mad).
“We were always within permissible limits. Muralitharan and me were cleared by the ICC more than once.
“Why didn’t Hair object to my bowling thereafter? Was it because he feared losing his job as an ICC umpire? We are not sons-in-law of the ICC.”
Harbhajan was tested and cleared twice in 1999 in England and in 2005 in Perth. “Present day bowlers are trying to bowl the doosra, which was invented by us. It doesn’t necessarily mean they are bending their arms more than the permissible limit. Doosras can be bowled without bending the arms too much,” he explained.
Umpire Darrell Hair no balls Muttiah Muralitharan during the second Test between Australia and Sri Lanka at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on January 26, 1995. PIC/ Getty Images
“The ICC has set a standard for bowlers and are using latest technology. Hair should stop challenging technology and better keep his mouth shut.”
There is speculation in Australia that Hair, who resigned due to differences with the ICC, could be given an advisory role before next year’s World Cup.