Darrell Hair won't be standing at the Champions Trophy
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The Indian board has clarified that "security" was never a concern with regard to Darrell Hair's appointment for the Champions Trophy tournament, a statement that's contradictory to the ICC's viewpoint.
"Darrell Hair will not umpire the ICC Champions Trophy on the basis of safety and security concerns," Brian Murgatroyd, the ICC's media manager, had said on September 28 during the press conference to announce the conclusion to Inzamam-ul-Haq's hearing.
When quizzed further he said the decision had been taken by the highest levels of ICC and Malcolm Speed, the chief executive, later issued this statement.
"For Darrell Hair, a decision has been made in consultation with the ICC President Percy Sonn, the ICC General Manager of Cricket David Richardson and myself that he will not umpire at the ICC Champions Trophy 2006 amid concerns over his safety and security and also the safety and security of those around him during the tournament."
However, Professor Ratnakar Shetty, the newly appointed administrative head of the board, clarified the BCCI's stand on the issue. "We've never said anything about security, it was not a concern," he said at a Champions Trophy related media briefing session in Mumbai.
"Since there was so much media attention, we expressed our concern about having him for such an important tournament. All bodies, including the government of India, had assured security.
"The BCCI only expressed concern over the controversy that exists. We didn't know what will happen on September 27 and 28 [when the hearing took place]. We just wanted the ICC to take our concern into account."
Niranjan Shah, the secretary of the board, echoed his view. "I don't know why the ICC has said that Hair was stopped from standing in the tournament because of security concerns. There are no security concerns in India.
"We have never said that Hair or any other umpire could face security problems. We knew it was a controversial issue and didn't want any controversy or crowd trouble during such a big event."
An ICC spokesman told Cricinfo: "We received a letter from Sharad Pawar expressing concern over people's reaction were Hair to umpire in India. As a result of that, discussions took place between Malcolm Speed, Percy Sonn and Dave Richardson and a decision was made to withdraw him."
The ICC was, however, unable to confirm or deny whether any further conversations had taken place with the Indian board or if any specific threats to Hair's safety had been made.
Siddhartha Vaidyanathan is staff writer of Cricinfo