Hair back in place for England against New Zealand but Aussie umpire admits to doubts

Darrell Hair returns to top-level umpiring at Old Trafford on Friday admitting: "I may be low on confidence."

The 55-year-old Australian will stand in the final two Tests of the series between England and New Zealand, his first high-profile assignment since being banned in the aftermath of the forfeited Test at The Oval in September 2006, when Pakistan were accused of ball-tampering.

He was ordered to undertake a rehabilitation programme by the International Cricket Council after he agreed to drop a claim of racial discrimination against them, having complained West Indian umpire Billy Doctrove, who also stood at The Oval that day, faced no sanctions.

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Flashpoint: Hair (second left) checks the balls during the controversial series between England and Pakistan

Hair said: "I think the decision-making ability is still there, the only thing that could change that is a lack of confidence because I haven't been out there.

"Provided I get the right processes and triggers into place in my technique on a ball-by-ball basis, I'm confident I'll be able to make the majority of correct decisions.

"If that turns out to be otherwise, then I'd probably need to look at if I am still capable of umpiring at an international level, but at the moment I feel confident in my abilities and the fact that I can do it."

Hair, who has umpired 76 Tests and 135 one-day internationals, stressed: "Confidence is extremely important for an umpire because when you have confidence you don't second guess yourself.

"When your confidence is down and you've made a few errors that you're aware of and realise that you shouldn't have made, that really does knock your confidence and it goes around in your head.

"The old adage of 'forget about it and think about the next ball'... it's very difficult and anyone who says they can do that all the time is probably not being very truthful."

Hair, who is expected to be prevented from giving interviews in the build-up to the Test by the ICC, also admitted being in the full glare of publicity in the immediate aftermath of the Oval saga was difficult.

Then living in England with his wife Mandy, Hair decided to return to his native Australia, where he has been based ever since, and admitted: "It was a little bit difficult to focus, because there was a lot going on."

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