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What's that toupee doing on the clothesline?

Submitted by rickeyre on August 27, 2006 - 9:02am

Law no.1 of Email Etiquette: Never, ever put anything in an email that you wouldn't want the whole world to see. Didn't you know that, Darrell?

Darrell Hair's botched attempt to negotiate an early retirement package for himself was clumsy and ill-advised. But why has it become everybody's business?

According to former corporate lawyer Mal Speed, the ICC received three legal opinions saying that it was "required to disclose the correspondence as it was material or relevant to matters that might be raised in the Code of Conduct hearing of Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul-Haq."

But how?

Do the emails provide evidence relating to the charge that member(s) of the Pakistan team tampered with the ball during the Oval Test last Sunday? I don't think so.

Do the emails provide evidence relating to the charge that Inzamam ul-Haq breached the Players' Code of Conduct on Sunday by bringing the game into disrepute? I don't think so.

Do the emails provide any evidence that Hair was attempting to commit an act of extortion or fraud? Speed said yesterday that ICC was "certain they are not the product of dishonest, underhand or malicious intent and believe the contents played no part in Darrell's decision-making during the fourth Test."

So what was the reason for making this situation public? If this is meant to be an example of the ICC bending over backwards to display its transparency, then it still needs to convince me of the real reason that they've put this into the public domain.

Or was it part of a deal to ensure that Pakistan didn't pull out of their ODI series with England? A withdrawal which would, in theory, leave the PCB liable for a multi-million dollar fine. Is anybody extorting anybody else in the back room?

And where does the other half of the umpiring team in the Fourth Test, Billy Doctrove, fit into this picture? And, indeed, the match referee Mike Procter?

If there is anything that does still require investigation, it is the circumstances that led to the termination of the Test match a day and a session early. In any major international sporting event, officials should be moving heaven and earth to avoid the premature conclusion of the contest.

But who's to blame here? The ICC should hold at the very least an internal inquiry into the circumstances of the forfeiture of the Test, regardless of whether or not Inzi is found guilty of the alleged Code of Conduct breach.

If they have already decided to hold one, why haven't we been told about it? Doesn't it
deserve the same level of transparency as applied to Darrell Hair's confidential emails? If they haven't decided to hold one, that paints an even worse picture of the ICC's transparency.

Darrell Hair has made some stunningly ill-considered decisions away from the playing field in the past, notably in the publication of a book of memoirs in 1998 - which could quite justifiably have ended his umpiring career there and then. But it's hard to imagine that his future as an elite umpire is tenable after this disclosure of events.

I find it hard to reach any other conclusion than to say that Hair is being hung out to dry.