BCCI warned ICC of security threat to Hair: Speed

Published: Friday, October 6, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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New Delhi:A day after dropping Darrell Hair from its panel of umpires for the Champions Trophy, ICC chief excecutive Malcolm Speed asserted that there was nothing 'sinister' about the decision and claimed that the controversial Australian was left out after BCCI President Sharad Pawar warned of a security threat to him in India.

In his column for a cricket website, Mr Speed said Hair would have needed 24-hour protection if appointed and claimed to have received a letter from Mr Pawar warning of a threat to his security.

Interestingly, the BCCI had made it clear recently that Hair's security was not an issue for it during the Champions Trophy starting tomorrow.

''Prior to the hearing we received a letter from the BCCI President Sharad Pawar raising his concerns about a potential negative reaction from some followers of the game there and the security implications this may have. We listened to this view and sought independent security advice which highlighted a heightened risk and the need for 24 hour protection,'' Mr Speed wrote.

Clearing the air of Hair's future, Mr Speed said the Australian was not being punished and his omission for the Champions Trophy was in the best interest of the umpire.

''Despite what you may have heard there was nothing sinister about that decision,'' he stated.

''In the circumstances we decided it was in the best interests of Darrell and the tournament not to send him to the event. Darrell remains a member of our Elite panel of umpires ... and I very much hope he will stand again at the highest level,'' he added, making it clear that Hair's future was not at risk due to the ball-tampering row.

Me Speed also rejected the recent criticism of ICC for its handling of the entire crisis and said contrary to the suggestions, the hearing and its decisions had strenghthened the umpires.

''Criticism of the ICC's role in the events of August 20 and its aftermath has been plentiful - and much of it has been unfair...the judgement highlights the independence of both the hearing and ICC's procedures. And far from undermining the authority of the umpires, as some have claimed, the hearing maintained it,'' he said.

''By banning Inzamam-ul Haq for four matches, Ranjan confirmed players cannot take the Law into their own hands, no matter how wronged they feel. The fact the Pakistan Cricket Board have not appealed the ban is a clear indication it accepts that,'' he added.

The ICC chief executive said the entire controversy needs to be forgotten and players, officials and spectators should now turn their attention to the Champions Trophy. Mr Speed said the tournament, which has been dedicated to the spirit of the game, should be played fairly and players would help the cause by setting new standards of good on-field behaviour.

''...it is the perfect setting for everyone to reaffirm the qualities that have made cricket such a great sport for the past 300 years, especially as players from all sides have pledged to uphold the Spirit of Cricket during the tournament.

''Adhering to the Spirit of Cricket at the ICC Champions Trophy, in the full gaze of the public, will be the best way to move forward and also safeguard the game's long-term future,'' he explained.


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