New Delhi: In a dramatic press conference in London, the ICC confirmed that Australian umpire Darrell Hair had asked for $500,000 last Tuesday to resign from the Elite Panel.
Hair's offer came after the controversial Oval Test where he penalised Pakistan of ball tampering.
Malcolm Speed, the CEO of the ICC, said: "In very broad summary, in the letter, Darrell Hair offered to leave his job as a top official in the ICC in exchange for a payment of US$ 500,000."
Even for a man who is used to creating controversy, this one was a real bombshell. In an e-mail to Doug Cowie, the ICC's umpires and referees' managers Hair offered to quit if he was paid the amount for the loss of future earnings as an umpire. He also asked for no public comment to be made on the reasons for decision to quit.
So why did the ICC do exactly that? Go public with this explosive letter. Malcom Speed argued that it was on the advice of their lawyers. They had informed the PCB and were compelled to make the documents public in case they were leaked anyway.
So where does all this leave Hair?
Speed says: "Darrell Hair was under great stress when he wrote his letters. I am confident as is david Richardson, the General Manager of cricket, to whom Darrell and Doug Cowie report, and who has been intimately involved in matters, that Darrell had no dishonest, underhand or malicious intent."
On his part, Hair has backtracked saying: "This correpondence was composed after a very long time and was revoked by myself two days later after a period of serious consideration. I am anxious that the code of conduct hearing takes place as soon as possible so these matters can be resolved and allow me to move on with my umpiring."
This correspondence was composed after a very difficult time and was revoked by myself two days later after a period of serious consideration. I am anxious that the code of conduct hearing takes place as soon as possible so these matters can be resolved and allow me to move on with my umpiring.
But can he move on? Unlikely. The BBC quoted former England Captain Mike Atherton as saying: "It is hard to see how he can umpire at any future international match. They have made his position untenable now."
The press conference was called to announce a new date for Inzamam-ul-Haq's code of conduct hearing, that will now be some time in September.
Speed says, "There were a number of dates in September that we discussed and we are working towards a date in the second half of September. But I am unable to give you a specific date at this stage."
So in an ironic twist, the man who penalised a cricket team for cheating, now finds himself in the dock.
The One-Day series between England and Pakistan will go on as scheduled. But where will Darrell Hair go next?