ICC Code of Conduct hearing September 29, 2006

'I forgive Hair' - Inzamam

Cricinfo staff

Inzamam: 'I don't regret making the decision to stay off the field' © Getty Images

Inzamam-ul-Haq insisted on his return to Pakistan that he would not seek legal action against Darrell Hair after being cleared of ball tampering charges by the ICC. "Our religion Islam teaches us to forgive and forget, so I forgive Hair and will not take any action against him," Inzamam told AFP on his return.

Inzamam said he had nothing in his heart against Hair. "It will take time to forget what happened at The Oval but my heart is clear as always, and since we have been cleared of the more serious charge of ball tampering I think we should bury the matter," he said.

Imran Khan and other ex-players had urged Inzamam to seek an apology and take the Australian to court for defamation but Inzamam justified the decision not to appeal against the ban. "The penalty imposed is the minimum in level III so it would neither be reduced nor would it be lifted if I had appealed. So I see no reason to take the matter any further."

Earlier, Inzamam stood by his decision to protest at The Oval last month, when his team was judged to have forfeited the fourth Test, even though his punishment means he will miss the Champions Trophy.

Inzamam was cleared of ball-tampering at an ICC hearing on Thursday, but found guilty of bringing the game into disrepute over his side's refusal to continue play against England. He will therefore be unable to lead his country into next month's Champions Trophy, with Younis Khan taking control of the team in his absence.

"I knew I was going to be in trouble when I made the protest," Inzamam told Bigstarcricket.com. "It was not a decision I took easily, because nobody wants to prevent the spectators from watching the cricket - both at the ground and on television."

Even so - and despite the fact Pakistan became the first team in Test history to forfeit a Test match - Inzamam does not believe he did the wrong thing. "Although I regret the public were deprived of watching cricket, I don't regret making the decision to stay off the field - because there are certain things more important than winning and losing or the rule book."

"I felt the respect and integrity of my country had been brought into question, so the support the country has given me in this issue has been comforting. It told me that we were right to do what we did."

Inzamam believes his decision - which meant England won the series 3-0 - helped to focus attention on what he saw as an unfair ruling. "If we had just carried on with the game, the world would not have sat up and taken notice of how we had been accused of something we were not guilty of."

"We felt we had to stand up and protest. Ultimately, I understand the ICC's decision to ban me. I did what I felt was right - and so did they."

During the press conferences held after the hearing at The Oval Shaharyar Khan, the PCB chairman, stressed how he felt 'a slur' against Pakistan as a country had been lifted following ICC's ruling. However, he confirmed that Pakistan are not happy with the current law on how penalty runs are awarded in a case of ball tampering.

Meanwhile, Inzamam said he was heartened by the support he received from well-wishers: "I had a call on my mobile literally every minute after the hearing and I appreciate everyone's good wishes."