ICC defends umpires

ICC Chief Executive Malcolm Speed has come out in support of controversial umpire Darrell Hair in the wake of a Pakistani request that he be removed from future matches involving the side. Speed said that it was up to the ICC to determine umpire appointments for test and ODI matches, and that appointments would be based on performance in an umpiring capacity and not on requests from the sides involved. Pakistan has made requests in the past to have Hair excused from umpiring their matches, but on this occasion tensions are worse than ever before.

Speed also declared the ICC’s support for the decision made by Hair and Doctrove to award the match to Pakistan after they refused to play following the tea break on day four at The Oval. Speed said that the decision was the correct one according to the rules, and the ICC did not wish to second-guess or overturn any decisions made by the on-field umpires that were in line with the laws of cricket, for fear of undermining their authority.

Speed made no specific comment about the ball tampering allegations against Pakistan that have kept the cricket world enthralled in the past few days, but he said that the hearing Inzamam faces on Friday and his potential 8 match ban is “not a political, racial or religious matter, but a cricketing one”, and that the ICC has no vested interest in the outcome beyond fairness. Inzamam has threatened that if he recieves a ban his team may refuse to play in the upcoming ODI series against England.

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