International Cricket Council November 12, 2010

Lorgat hits back at 'irresponsible' May

The ICC has reacted strongly to FICA chief Tim May's comments about players not approaching its Anti Corruption and Security Unit [ACSU] because they have no faith in it. Haroon Lorgat, the ICC chief executive, said he was extremely annoyed by May's remarks and even called them "irresponsible". Lorgat said he would have normally preferred not to react but what had fuelled his ire was May's point that the ICC leaked details to the media in the past of the players who approached its watchdog. That only led to players becoming more insecure, May said.

"He said that the players have no confidence in approaching the ACSU. I felt quite strange that Tim May [was] making such comments," Lorgat told ESPNcricinfo. He said he was trying hard to understand the FICA chief's reasoning. "He either made that out of ignorance or I hope he is not being irresponsible. Those comments are certainly not justified in my view."

In an interview to BBC World Service on Thursday, May had praised former Pakistan wicketkeeper Zulqarnain Haider's defection to the United Kingdom after receiving threats from unnamed people during the ODI series against South Africa in the United Arab Emirates. In London, Haider subsequently revealed to the media the reasons behind his escape. He even had a few suggestions for the ACSU including "tapping" the players' phones to discourage the bookies.

May said Haider had made an unprecedented and brave move. "If what he [Haider] says is true, what he's done is not cowardly, it has taken a significant amount of courage, because no one has ever done that before," May said. But May, a former Australian off spinner, said there were not many players like the Pakistani. "Some players have concerns about reporting [corruption]. They fear the confidential nature of them reporting it will be breached," May said.

According to May the players' biggest concern was they feared the details they shared with the ACSU would be made public without their knowledge. "In the past, players have gone to the anti-corruption unit and somewhere details of their talks with the anti-corruption has reached the media. Whether those leaks have come from the ICC or whatever, it still gives the players the question over whether they can trust the ICC's anti-corruption unit."

Lorgat was critical of May's opinion and disagreed. "In fact we have got numerous players who have come forward and told us they were willing to talk," he said, while stressing that neither the ICC nor the ACSU had ever gone public whenever a player revealed any kind of approach. "We have never done that," he said.

Lorgat also picked up on one of the May's comments in the BBC interview, in which he stated that FICA had made a couple of suggestions to the ACSU recently which would encourage players to come forth with more information whenever any approach was made. "We have put forward a couple of options to the ICC in a meeting we had with anti-corruption unit in October for a change in the reporting system," May said, and added that he was still waiting for a positive reply.

Lorgat said May had only exposed his own hand here. "That is a classical example that he going to talk to media. The ACSU or ICC did not go to the media. In the past a few players made their own declarations about talking or speaking to the ACSU. We have made never made any disclosure about which player came and spoke to us. We don't say who has come because we protect their identities."

Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at Cricinfo