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ICC encouraged me to make offer to quit: Hair

Published: Monday, August 28, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
 
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London: Darrell Hair said he was encouraged by the ICC to make an offer to quit as an umpire following the Pakistan ball-tampering furore at the Oval last week.

Hair has been heavily criticised since the International Cricket Council (ICC) revealed details of an email he sent to officials requesting a $500,000 one-off payment in return for quitting their elite panel of umpires after the row.

In a statement released by his lawyers today Hair said: ''I was encouraged to make the offer that was disclosed by ICC on 25 August 2006.

''During an extended conversation on 21 August 2006 with Mr (Doug) Cowie, the Umpires' Manager for ICC, I was invited to make a written offer.

''The opening words of my first email to Mr Cowie confirm this: 'Just (to) firm up what we discussed earlier this evening.' I note that Mr Cowie replied on the same date: 'Your offer may have merit and is acknowledged and under discussions with ICC management'.

The controversy flared after Hair and fellow umpire Billy Doctrove imposed a five-run penalty on Pakistan for ball tampering on the final day of the fourth Test against England in London last week.

Pakistan subsequently forfeited the game when they refused to take the field after tea in protest at the decision. It was the first forfeiture in Test cricket's 129-year history.

Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul-Haq faces charges of ball tampering and bringing the game into disrepute at an ICC disciplinary meeting on Sept 15.

PANIC REACTION Hair told an Australian newspaper today his decision, subsequently withdrawn, to ask for a payoff had not been a panic reaction. ''It wasn't a spur of the moment thing. I didn't do it off the cuff,'' Hair told Australia's Sunday Mail.

In his later statement he added: ''I would have thought that it was quite apparent from the text of correspondence that I had been in discussions with ICC about the issue prior to sending the email.

''I was encouraged to make a written offer by ICC. The figure in the email correspondence was in line with those canvassed with the ICC.'' His lawyers said the purpose of his statement was to ''address certain misconceptions that appear to have arisen as a consequence of the release of certain confidential correspondence between Mr Hair and ICC.'' Hair said he did not give his consent to the emails being made public and added the context in which they were sent was not made clear. There was only a ''partial disclosure of the exchanges'', he added.

ICC Chief Executive Malcolm Speed disclosed the correspondence at a news conference on Friday.

Australian Hair has been vilified in Pakistan's media over his decision and a perceived bias against Asian teams.

Asked whether he would ever umpire again, Hair told the Sunday Mail: ''Let's address one thing at a time.''

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