Renowned international umpire Asad Rauf, from Pakistan, is at the centre of a controversy following an Indian model Leena Kapoor’s allegation that the 56-year-old, who is on ICC’s elite panel, sexually exploited her by first promising to marry her, and then going back on his words. And while Rauf has admitted that he knows the model, he denied of having any relationship with her. The truth will be out sooner or later. In the meantime, here’s a look at other cricket umpires on whom fingers have been raised, unlike Rauf, for on-field reasons.
Darrell Hair: If there is ever an award constituted for the most controversial umpire in the world, that honour must go to this Australian. He was the man who gave Muttiah Muralitharan the torture of his life, no-balling him seven times in three overs during the now infamous Test between Australia and Sri Lanka in 1995 at Melbourne. Even after the ICC cleared Murali’s action legal, till date Hair maintains that the off-spinner’s bowling is suspect. Hair was also one of the umpires who stood in the controversial Oval Test between England and Pakistan in 2006. On the fourth day of the game, Hair ruled that Pakistan were involved in ball tampering and awarded five runs to England. In protest, Pakistan refused to take the field after the tea break, and England were granted victory.
Steve Bucknor: For some reason, Steve Bucknor did not like India and vice-versa. The West Indian umpire rubbed India the wrong way on a number of occasions, but nothing was as atrocious as the India-Australia Sydney Test of 2008. Bucknor ruled Andrew Symonds not out when he clearly was on a number of occasions, and Symonds’ lucky ton in the second innings helped Australia achieve a narrow win. Bucknor did not help matters for India by declaring Rahul Dravid out caught behind when the ball had clearly only brushed the pads. The frustration led to the infamous Harbhajan-Symonds monkeygate fiasco. Indians lost any little respect they had left for Bucknor. The ICC replaced Bucknor for the next Test following protests from India.
Shakoor Rana: The only reason world cricket remembers the Pakistani umpire is because of his run in with Mike Gatting during the 1987 Faisalabad Test. Rana accused Gatting, the skipper in the match, of altering the field position even as Eddie Hemmings ran in to bowl. Gatting did not take the accusing well, and both men were seen abusing each other in full public view. The match was called off for the day (second day of the Test), and resumed only after Gatting was forced to issue an apology to Rana. The incident is considered the ugliest ever in the history of the sport.
Daryl Harper: Like Bucknor, India did not enjoy the Aussie’s umpiring as well. During the Jamaica Test between India and West Indies, Harper made a number of decisions that did not go down well with India. Although India won the Test, M S Dhoni argued that better umpiring would have helped India finish the Test earlier. A hurt Harper stood down from what would have been his final Test, and blasted Dhoniand co for being poor sportsmen.
--By A Cricket Analyst