ICC chief says cricket remains in 'robust health' August 26, 2006

Speed 'wasn't prepared to lie' about Hair's email

Cricinfo staff

'Somehow I'd have to find $500,000, conspire to keep it secret, mislead the public and lie. Why would we want to do that? It just wouldn't work' © Getty Images

The chief executive of the ICC, Malcolm Speed, has spoken of his decision to make public Darrell Hair's email, in which the umpire offered to resign under the condition of receiving $500,000.

Speed, who flew to London last week to tackle the ball tampering crisis first hand, spoke of his consternation at Hair's letter and how he was "shocked and disappointed" at receiving it.

"It took a while for the full ramifications [of the email] to sink in," Speed told Sky Sports. "We held a number of meetings, and I obtained the best legal advice available. I was told that if there were potential issues between ICC and PCB, I'm legally obliged to display them. The other advice was to tear it up, delete the emails and lie about it. I wasn't prepared to do that."

Yesterday's dramatic revelations at Lord's were the latest in what has been a dark and depressing week for cricket. However, Speed insisted that in no way did he, or the ICC, ever consider lying about receiving Hair's email, or the contents contained within.

"[Lying about it] is fine until someone on TV or radio asks me the question. There might be court cases, someone might write a book, somehow the copy might come into the public and I wasn't prepared to lie about it. We're in an immensely difficult position."

Speed also emphatically denied the cynical view that he used the email as a "window of opportunity."

"Not for one minute. What I always wanted to do is follow the process and have the hearing," he said. "If the charges are sustained, that's fine. If it's overturned, that's fine. It's impractical to achieve the solution which Darrell wanted; somehow I'd have to find $500,000, conspire to keep it secret, mislead the public and lie. Why would we want to do that? It just wouldn't work."

When asked about Hair and Billy Doctrove's decision to abandon the match, when Pakistan failed to take to the field, Speed was equally adamant that umpires have full authority where on-field decisions are concerned.

"The umpires are in control, that's been the case for 300 years and I'd want that to continue. I can't judge the on-field situation, or overturn their decision that the match was forfeited. If it's their decision to forfeit the match, then it's forfeited. They didn't believe it was appropriate to overturn their decision - and I can't force them to do it."

Despite the dramatic events of the past week, Speed was confident in the ICC's ability to handle sensitive situations, adding that the game is "in robust health".

"We deal with [these situations] as well as we can. I prefer to look at it in another aspect...the news has been on the front pages, not the back. But the game is in robust health. We had the Ashes series last year, and for this winter's Ashes sponsors are seeking to buy the rights and the broadcasters are buying rights. The game is in great health. We need to put it behind us and get on with the business of cricket."

Earlier today, Speed confirmed the hearing for Inzamam-ul-Haq's alleged ball tampering would take place in the last week of September.