Oh, Darrell Hair

Oh, Darrell Hair,

it’s just not fair

the way you turned Muttiah

into the game’s pariah

just to get your kicks.


Oh, Darrell Hair,

are you aware

that all across Sri Lanka

they’re calling you a wanker?

And now you’re shitting bricks.




About Damian Balassone

Damian Balassone is a failed half-forward flanker who writes poetry. He is the author of 'Strange Game in a Strange Land'.


  1. Oh, Darrell Hair,
    are you aware
    that all across Australia
    they’re standing up to hail ya
    GBB, no conviction recorded

  2. Oh Darrell Hair
    are you aware
    others also ruled no-ball
    that led to a 15 degree extension for all

    Oh Darrell Hair,
    are you aware
    that it was all an optical illusion
    that led to your confusion
    (forgive my take on your creative poem DB)

    DB; I recall it was an odd action that seemed to periodically look more extreme. Darrell Hair was not Robinson Crusoe and at least had the fortitude to call it as he saw it, even if it was eventually ruled an illusion.

  3. I side with the Don who said it was worst example of umpiring he had witnessed, and against everything the game stands for. But Darrell ‘No one tells me what to do’ Hair choooses to humiliate Murali on cricket’s biggest stage. If you want to get down to the nitty gritty, there’s heaps of players with suss actions (particularly in slow-mo). Thanks for the extra verses gents, great fun. I had a few extras as well:

    Oh, Darrell Hair,
    your scalp is bare.
    I think you should be called
    …Darrell Bald.

  4. Andrew Starkie says

    I always felt sorry for Muttiah.No real surprise he was called in Aust.

  5. Luke Reynolds says

    Spot on Damian, a public execution wasn’t the right way to go about it.
    Would we remember D.Hair if not for this infamous day?

  6. Well i totally disagree. Muralitharan was the worst chucker i’d seen to that point. Hair wasn’t going to be intimidated by pious voices,or the then growing power of the Sub- Continent cricket industry. Hair did the right thing: he called a chucker for chucking.

    Sadly he was vilified,then hounded out of the game. The chucker now apparently holds the record for the most wickets in test cricket: SAD.

    As the great Indian spinner Bishen Bedi said,Muralitharan’s wickets should be counted as run outs,because he throws the ball.

    SAD, but TRUE.


  7. Totally agree with Glen above

  8. But it wasn’t Darrell Hair’s call to make. “Steve Dunne, the New Zealand umpire standing at square-leg, had no problems with Murali’s action. He did not call Murali even when the off-spinner was brought on from his end. In fact, later Dunne pointed out that the rules stipulated that any suspect action would have to be reported to the match referee rather than being called immediately. It was the ICC who had to rule a bowler’s action legitimate or otherwise.” But ultimately Hair took it upon his self to act as the high sheriff. It was his moment in the sun. No wonder Asian cricket nations hate us.
    Spot on Starks & Luke. I reckon there’s a few other dodgy things on Hair’s CV too. Didn’t he win Australia a test against SAF in Adelaide 93/94? Also, he was the one who incorrectly gave McDermott out when we lost in Adelaide by a single run in 92/93. And not referring a Steve Waugh run out to the third umpire in 2001/02.
    I could go on. He also had the Pakistan team walk off at the Oval in 2006 (presiding over the first forfeiture of a Test match in the history of the game). Later calling them ‘cheats, frauds and liars’. And yet last year, Hair gets busted for stealing money from the till of a bottle shop he was working at. Classic case of the guy who is a stickler for the rules, having some skeletons in the closet,

  9. DB; Why were there at least 3 separate biomechanical tests of Murali’s action if it was clearly legal? Nobody suggested all of Murali’s deliveries were illegal, but that as he bowled certain ones his arm flexed more than it usually did. After umpire Chris Broad (UK) called him out in Sri Lanka a new study of his doosra action was commissioned. Results showed his arm flexed 14 degrees bowling the doosra, Murali was sent to a coach for technique remediation. Following the coaching his flex reduced to 10 degrees and he admitted the modified bowling action was how he used to bowl. Hair appears to be a bit of an odd one but the rules were changed due to Murali’s action. As for the ‘Pakistan cheats’ call; perhaps Hair was correct. Weren’t 4 Pakistan players banned for spot-fixing in the period 2009-2010?

  10. Well said BJ.


  11. Not saying the action wasn’t controversial – but it was okayed by three independent bio-mechanics, who, don’t forget, also decreed that 99% of bowlers tested exceeded elbow flexion limits. But my point is more about Hair humiliating Murali on the biggest stage. As Umpire Dunne said, any suspect action was meant to be reported to the match referee rather than be called immediately.
    Also, not condoning those Pakistan players for spot-fixing (from memory the 2006 incident was more to do with a ball-tampering allegation from Hair), but for Hair to use the phrase ‘cheats, frauds and liars’ to describe them is a bit ironic, considering what he got busted for last year.


  12. G’day DB. I was happy Hair called the chucker on the ‘G’. The fact he’d been allowed to bowl and take wickets with his illegal action had to come to a head somewhere. What better location to expose his illegal action than in front of a big crowd at the ‘G’?

    Pakistan cricket, controversy,is like fish and chips: hard having one without the other. Sad,but their history has a long list of episodes, that smear all their cricketers .

    I’m curious about Hair being a ‘tea leaf’. I’ve not heard of the bottle shop story.


  13. Glen – Darrell was a victim of the punt. Don’t know how long it had been going on, but from personal experience I know these things have a long gestation. ICC umpires get over $100K a year on top of free travel, accommodation and meals. But you can’t fill a bucket with gaping holes in the bottom.
    I suspect when the ICC called time there was no rainy day money left, which would have been why he was working in a bottle shop and applying a 4 finger discount. Been there – done that.
    He paid the money back and received a community service order and a spent conviction. I hope he’s got some support and is turning his life around. You are only as sick as your secrets.
    Seemed a decent umpire and I always thought Murali chucked the doosra (you can’t bowl it without throwing or breaking your shoulder).
    His umpiring performances and personal demons are two entirely separate issues in my view, as I don’t think anyone ever suggested he took the Cronje/Malik way out of corruptly filling his own pockets.

  14. Ah knock it off Bala. He was a chucker.

  15. The day they instructed umpires not to call the game as they saw it was a bad day for cricket. Finger spinners should not be allowed to bowl in long sleeves

  16. Amazing how a clever little poem can stimulate so much discussion. Thanks DB.

  17. Well said PB.

    Your information is valuable, helping with a nuanced perspective of this case.


  18. Asterisk of Galle. Chucker. The Shrees cooked up a batch of feeble excuses – bent arm, flexible wrist, trick of the eye, racists – which are either irrelevant, wrong or straw men. Then, when it was proven in the lab that he did chuck, they squealed “Well, everyone does it” and had the rules changed.

  19. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    Would we call him a ‘chucker’ if he played for Australia or just a ‘unique’ bowling action?
    Nicely spun DB !!

  20. Speaking personally, I’m perfectly comfortable calling out Aussies with bad actions. But picking a bowler like Murali is unlikely to happen here because we are unlikely to pick a spinner with a similarly contestable action. In fact, such an action is unlikely to make it through grade cricket.

    Hit the link below for any of the 175 posts I have written on chucking.

  21. Sorry, hit the link above in Tony Tea.

  22. G’day Phil.

    if he played for Australia and threw the ball the ICC would curtail his career.


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