Umpire Harper pulls out of final

BRIDGETOWN, (Reuters) – Australian umpire Daryl  Harper has withdrawn from what would have been his final test  appearance after complaints from India’s players about his  decision making.

Harper, an international umpire since 1994, was supposed to  take charge of his final test next week when West Indies host  India in their third and final match in Dominica.

The 59-year-old Harper told the International Cricket Council  (ICC) yesterday he was pulling out and the ICC said he would  be replaced by Richard Kettleborough.

“In the wake of some unfair criticism, Daryl has informed us  that he does not wish to stand in what would have been his final  test,” ICC general manager David Richardson said in a statement.

“The reality of the situation is that Daryl’s statistics show  his correct decision percentage in tests involving India is 96  percent, which is considerably higher than the international  average for top-level umpires.”
Harper has long been regarded as one of the game’s best  on-field officials, standing in 95 tests and 174 one-day  internationals in a career spanning almost two decades, but has  fallen foul of India, the game’s financial power brokers.

Although it is one of the longest most sacred traditions that  players must accept the umpire’s decision, the Indian captain  Mahendra Singh Dhoni made no secret of his displeasure at some  of Harper’s rulings in the series opener.

“If correct decisions were made, the game would have ended  much earlier and we would have been in the hotel by now,” Dhoni  said after his team’s 63-run win.

Although the ICC has its own regulations protecting officials  from public criticism, Dhoni’s comments went unpunished.

“We have every faith in Daryl to finish the series and while  we regret his decision we do respect it,” Richardson said.

“The real shame is it deprives him of the opportunity to sign  off as a test match umpire in a manner befitting someone who has  served the game so well since making his international debut  back in 1994.”

Harper is not the first neutral umpire to make a premature  exit from a series involving India after complaints from the  game’s commercial leaders.

In 2009, West Indian umpire Steve Bucknor was sacked by the  ICC after India complained about his performance when they lost  a close match against Australia in Sydney.

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