Pakistan in England / News

ICC chief still hopes for a solution

Speed admits Hair's career could be over

Cricinfo staff and AFP

August 27, 2006

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Malcolm Speed: 'I hope we can find a way for him to continue but I'm not sure that that will happen' © Getty Images
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Malcolm Speed, the ICC chief executive, believes that Darrell Hair's Test career could be over after the controversy of the past week.

Hair offered to quit top-level cricket in return for $500,000 after the ball-tampering furore which lead to Pakistan forfeiting their final Test against England. Throughout the week Speed has been quick to establish that the ICC were not ending Hair's career or cutting him adrift from the game. However, he has admitted he doesn't know whether Hair could shake off this latest controversy.

"There have been other issues in his umpiring career where people have said 'this is the end for Darrell Hair' - after he called Muttiah Muralitharan for throwing in 1996, and he then wrote a book, and people said 'this is the end for Darrell Hair'," Speed told BBC Radio Five Live's Sportsweek programme.

"Darrell survived that and has become a better umpire, he is one of the world's best umpires, so I hope we can find a way for him to continue but I'm not sure that that will happen.

"Why? Because there's a lot of speculation...that Darrell's career is finished, that he's compromised. That's not my wish, I hope we can find a way for him to continue. I would like Darrell Hair to continue umpiring in cricket matches at the top level."

Speed said it was up to the ICC adjudicator to decide whether Hair's actions affected the charges against Inzamam-ul-Haq of ball-tampering and bringing the game into disrepute, brought up following the team's sit-in at The Oval.

Inzamam refused to bring his team out after the tea interval after Hair and his colleague Billy Doctrove's decision to penalise them five runs for ball-tampering.

Speed said: "The ball-tampering issue and the subsequent charge are very simple cricketing issues about what happened on the field. Whether it impacts on Darrell Hair's credit I don't know, that's a matter for Pakistan's lawyers whether to raise that, and then for the adjudicator to decide whether he takes that into account."

Shahrayar Khan, the PCB chairman, has insisted that Hair should not umpire another match involving Pakistan, but Speed refused to go that far. "It was said he could never umpire Sri Lanka again after 1996 but he has. Time will tell if water needs to flow under the bridge. I don't know what his future is but I hope we can find a way for him to continue."

Speed confirmed the ball-tampering charge had been made by both Hair and Doctrove, and that he was not aware the England players had made any complaint.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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