The International Cricket Council’s executive board will now meet on September 2 to discuss Hair’s astonishing demands to step down from his elite-list contract in an e-mail to ICC manager of referees and umpires Doug Cowie.
The chain of events has now delayed indefinitely Pakistan captain Inzamam ul-Haq’s disciplinary hearing to face charges of ball-tampering and bringing the game into disrepute.
The ICC opted to make Hair’s e-mails public because they were potentially relevant to matters which could be raised in the hearing involving Inzamam, whose actions may now be viewed by some in a different light.
The Pakistan Cricket Board also received copies today, when it was expected the date for Inzamam’s hearing would be announced — neither the captain nor his players appeared keen to proceed with the matter hanging over their heads.
However, Hair’s e-mails — he subsequently withdrew his offer after communication from ICC chief executive Malcolm Speed — moved the goalposts and PCB chairman Shahriyar Khan confirmed their commitment to the final fortnight of the tour.
Speed, who admitted shock upon being presented with the initial e-mail, took legal advice before opting to disclose the contents.
“Although we are 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, they could be read as such and may well be interpreted that way if they had emerged in the future,” said Speed.
“The view of those of us at the ICC aware of these e-mails is that they were written by a man under a great deal of stress after an extremely difficult Test match and we believe his intention was to try to act in the best interests of the game.”
Hair and Inzamam were the two men at the very centre of Test cricket’s first forfeiture in 129 years.
It was Hair, alongside West Indian Billy Doctrove, who penalised Pakistan for ball- tampering in England’s second innings at The Oval last Sunday and also confirmed the result by decisively removing the bails when the tourists refused to reappear after tea in protest.