Melbourne: Sacked ICC umpire Darrell Hair was polled `Umpire of the Season' by the readers of The Wisden Cricketer magazine which, the Australian said, was a great vote of confidence.

Hair received more than a third of all votes in the magazine's annual poll, which appeared to be in contradiction with the International Cricket Council's decision to ban him from officiating in future international matches after admitting to have lost confidence in him after the Oval Test fiasco.

One reader referred to him as the only one with courage and Hair also received votes in the performance of the season category with citations such as ensuring that the umpire's decision is final and finally exposing the cheats.

``I suppose it is a bit of a shock,'' Hair told the magazine. ``But if free-thinking people want to vote that way and they do believe I've done the job as well as anybody or even better I can accept that fact, it's a great vote of confidence,'' he was quoted as saying in the The Age. Hair was also reportedly named the second-best umpire by the ICC in the latest annual appraisal of its officials. PTI

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