BRIDGETOWN, (Reuters) – Australian umpire Daryl Harper has withdrawn from what would have been his final test appearance after complaints from India’s players about his decision making.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