Darrell Bruce Hair is an Australian former international cricket umpire. He was born on 30th September 1952 and hails from the town of Mudgee in New South Wales, Australia. Hair had a successful career as a cricket umpire, but is more known for his controversies including the one with spinning legend Muttiah Muralitharan.
Hair was an aspiring cricketer before turning into an umpire. A handy fast bowler, he played for the likes of North Sydney and Mosman in the Sydney Grade Cricket competition. He had started his playing career in Orange and Molong, and moved to Sydney in 1972. However, his career was cut short by a knee injury which made him look into the officiating side of the game.
Hair began umpiring in first class matches in 1988-89. His first international match was the Benson & Hedges World Series match between India and West Indies, at Adelaide on 14th December 1991. He was a part of the International Panel of Umpires before being named in the ICC Elite Umpires Panel in 2003.
He was temporarily removed from the Elite Panel following the ball tampering scandal in August 2006, but was restored to the Panel in 12th March 2008.
Hair has officiated in 78 Tests, 139 ODIs and 6 T20I matches.
In Boxing Day of 1995, in the test match between Australia and Sri Lanka, he gave seven no-ball decisions to Muttiah Muralitharan in three overs for throwing. It was the first time that the spinner was questioned for his bowling action. However, Muralitharan was cleared off all charges and his bowling action was deemed legal, which was a bit unusual because of a congenital elbow deformity. Hair was later found guilty of bringing disrepute to the game by the ICC in 1999 after he described Muralitharan’s bowling action as ‘diabolical’.
In August 2006, on the fourth day of the fourth Test between England and Pakistan at The Oval, Hair and fellow umpire Billy Doctrove decided that the Pakistan team had been involved in a ball-tampering incident, awarding five runs to England as penalty and allowing a replacement ball to England. The Pakistan team refused to take the field after Tea Break, which resulted in their forfeiture, a first in Test cricket’s 129 year history.
On 22d August 2008, Hair gave his resignation to the ICC to take up a coaching role.