It was almost a foregone conclusion that Australian umpire Darrell Hair would be voted out of international cricket by the ICC’s Executive Board meeting on Friday.
The September inquiry by Ranjan Madugalle, the ICC's chief match referee, did not find Pakistan guilty of ball-tampering during the Oval Test. This meant that Hair was wrong.
After the end of the two-day meeting on Saturday, the cricket's governing body duly removed Hair from its panel of umpires. The Australian will not stand in any international cricket now.
“The ICC has decided that it has lost confidence in Mr Hair,” ICC president Percy Sonn said here on Saturday. “The management will discuss his future with him before going into further details.”
Hair's contract with the ICC as an elite panel umpire runs up to March 2008. His future, as regards his monetary compensation and intriguingly, a possible role in training umpires, will be decided after ICC Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Malcolm Speed and its General Manager (Cricket), Dave Richardson meet with Hair.
Another significant development at the meeting was that the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and the ICC have resolved their differences over the Members' Participation Agreement (MPA). The MPA is an agreement laying out financial and other terms for global ICC sponsors for the 2007 to 2015 period.
“The ICC Executive Board has achieved a successful resolution of the outstanding issues involving the MPA with the BCCI,” Sonn said. But he did not give details.
The BCCI had been unhappy over a clause that gave the ICC unilateral power to amend the contract at any time without a written agreement from member countries. It had also opposed the idea of a nine-month extra period of contract post the end of the 2015 World Cup. But the differences were reportedly ironed out in Mohali.
In another development, one which signified the more moderate forces in the BCCI are holding sway at the moment, the Indian Board agreed to withdraw its bid for marketing broadcast rights for ICC Events after legal opinion indicated there would be a conflict of interest.
Meanwhile, in what could be a new lease of life for cricketers banned for match-fixing and a dilution of the seriousness of the offence, the life ban on Pakistan bowler Ata-ur-Rehman for his role in match-fixing has been lifted. From May 2007, he would be eligible to play league cricket in England, as per his application.
Zimbabwe's return to Test cricket has been cleared for November 2007, provided Zimbabwe Cricket re-establishes a credible domestic first-class structure and secures competitive cricket for its best players against high-class 'A' sides over the next 12 months.