But The Oval experience was 'hugely regrettable" August 23, 2006

Speed supports Hair and Doctrove

Cricinfo staff

Malcolm Speed says the hearing on Friday will be a "cricket matter" © Getty Images

Two days after The Oval fiasco Malcolm Speed, the ICC chief executive, has said the conclusion to the fourth Test was "hugely regrettable", but he insisted it was not the organisation's role to overrule any umpiring decision. As expected, Speed has supported the umpires Darrell Hair and Billy Doctrove in their "correct" move to award the game to England when Pakistan did not return to the field after tea following a five-run punishment for ball tampering.

"It is not the role of the ICC to overturn the decisions of on-field umpires, the ultimate arbiters of the game," Speed said in a statement. "In this instance the decision to award the match to England was the correct one under the Laws."

Speed also confirmed the ICC had received a letter from the Pakistan Cricket Board expressing its concerns over the appointment of Hair to matches involving the country. "This is the first time they have put them in writing, even though they have previously been invited to do so," Speed said. "However, it remains the role of the ICC and not our members to appoint umpires to Tests and one-day internationals."

Sunil Gavaskar, the chairman of the ICC's cricket committee, and Speed select the officials for each series on recommendations from the body's cricket department. "The appointments are made without fear or favour and are based on the performances of the umpires in international matches," Speed said.

Speed also said it was important to remember that Friday's hearing, when Inzamam-ul-Haq will face ball tampering and disrepute charges, was purely a playing issue. "It is not a political, racial or religious matter but a cricketing one," he said. "We have no vested interests in the outcome of the hearing but what we expect is that it will be fair and will illustrate our processes are suitably robust to deal with these issues."