The International Cricket Council has admitted it made an error, after a private letter of chastisement to Wasim Bari from Malcolm Speed, their chief executive, was allowed to enter the public domain.
Bari, Pakistan's chief selector, had been scathing in his criticism of David Shepherd's umpiring, following two poor decisions in the final of the tri-series against Australia at Amstelveen in August. "Shepherd's decisions were like target killing and cost Pakistan the final," Bari was reported as saying, after the controversial dismissals of Inzamam-ul-Haq and Yousuf Youhana had contributed to a 17-run defeat. "His decisions were not only doubtful but disgraceful," he added, saying that it was time for Shepherd to retire.
As a consequence, Bari was severely reprimanded by the ICC, with Speed branding his remarks as "inflammatory" and "out of order".
"Wasim, please rest assured that any future public criticism of ICC officials by you while you are chairman of selectors for the PCB will be dealt with very firmly under the ICC code of conduct," Speed wrote in his letter. "You have been in and around the game long enough to know that you were well and truly out of order in making these comments."
Unfortunately, Speed's response found its way to the press owing to a lack of clear instructions about its publication. "I should have been more explicit in my instructions within my department so that this unfortunate situation would have been avoided," said Brendan McClements, the ICC's corporate-affairs general manager. "I understand that this has now placed [Wasim Bari] in a difficult position, a situation that all of us would prefer not to have occurred."
The current ICC regulations do permit selectors to make such comments, although players and team officials are forbidden from doing so. Since Bari made his remarks, however, Speed has taken steps to tighten this loophole.