Malcolm Speed, the outspoken chief executive of the International Cricket Council, has effectively been sacked, a little more than two months before he was to relinquish office on July 4. It is a decision unprecedented in the history of cricket’s governing body. Speed will be on paid leave for the remainder of his term and David Richardson, the ICC’s general manager — cricket, will take over as interim CEO till Haroon Lorgat assumes office.
“This is the result of a fundamental breakdown in the relationship between the CEO and a number of board members, including the president, over a variety of issues that include Zimbabwe,” David Morgan, the ICC president-elect said. In March, when the ICC decided to overlook the audit of Zimbabwe Cricket, Speed refused to address the media, saying he could not defend a position he was opposed to.
More recently, Speed openly admitted that the ICL had approached the ICC for official recognition — something he need not have done — and added, “BCCI has never sent anything in writing to the ICC…they have never said that they don’t recognise it.” The BCCI’s stand on the ICL has been virulently aggressive from the moment the league was formed and for the chief executive to make this remark was courting danger days before the IPL was launched.
Speed, who held the CEO's post since 2001, emboldened by the fact that he was on his way out also volunteered comments on the ICC's decision regarding Sunil Gavaskar's dual role as columnist and cricket committee chairman.
Sources told the Hindustan Times that the decision to remove Speed was taken when top ICC officials met in Bangalore on April 16, a day before the IPL's opening gala. "It was decided at an informal meeting that Speed should be removed,” a source revealed. “He had fought repeatedly with the president (Ray Mali) on various issues, there was the Zimbabwe problem, other differences. In any case, once the Board decides something, you can't have the CEO come out publicly and oppose it.” The matter would have been formally discussed in the June 4 board meeting of the ICC, but some members felt it would show the ICC in bad light if they sacked Speed so close to the end of his tenure. They then spoke to Speed and he agreed to proceed on leave to avoid humiliation.