In the best interests of the game

cricket bookWith the last of the Ashes Test matches about to begin it is a coincidence that I have just finished this book.  It is another book about sport.  I seem to have read a few sporting books recently. I will need to move to a different shelf next time I am in the library!

Darrell Hair was an Australian umpire who was at the centre of a controversy involving ball tampering in a cricket match in England.  Again I only had a vague idea of what had transpired but this book set everything straight from the umpire’s point of view.  It was an eye opener.  Similar to Boycott it left me with a poor impression of administration in sport and how the “top dogs”  had failed to support their employee.

From the book jacket:

In the fourth Test between England and Pakistan at The Oval in 2006, Darrell Hair’s observations and charges of ball tampering against Pakistan led to the visitors refusing to continue the game.  What followed more befits a John le Carré novel as administrators went into almost unfathomable damage control that eventually forced Hair into premature retirement.  In the Best Interests of the Game presents Hair’s version of the events surrounding test cricket’s only forfeited match.

Away form the conflict, Darrell shares some more light-hearted and memorable moments involving his favourite players, games and crowds; he evaluates the introduction of the third umpire and reviews some of his other controversial decisions including the Muttiah Muralitharan “throwing” affair; and selects his best Test and ODI teams of the recent era.

I have commented previously on the DRS in cricket and the comments, from an umpire, in this book seem to reinforce my belief that in cricket it should be left to the umpires on the field.

This was an enlightening read and I learned a great deal more about cricket umpiring and the administration of cricket.  It was not at all a dry book as you would imagine a cricket umpiring book to be! If you are a cricket fan it is definitely worth reading.

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