|Ground:||Kennington Oval, Kennington|
|Scorecard:||England v Pakistan|
|Player:||DB Hair, Inzamam-ul-Haq|
|Event:||Pakistan in British Isles 2006|
DateLine: 28th August 2006
Australian umpire Darrell Hair has insisted he was "invited" by the International Cricket Council (ICC) to make his controversial 500,000 resignation offer.
Differences in his version of events and that of the world governing body have become apparent, and Hair said email exchanges between him and the ICC support his claim.
Hair, who later rescinded his offer, was one of two umpires officiating in the fourth and final Test between England and Pakistan at The Oval on August 20. He awarded the home side five penalty runs because they believed the tourists had illegally tampered with the ball.
Pakistan were incensed by the decision and refused to return to the pitch after the tea interval on the fourth day. The match was eventually forfeited and England took the series 3-0.
Senior figures within the ICC have maintained they were completely unaware of Hair's offer until they saw the first of his e-mails on the subject to umpires' and referees' manager Doug Cowie.
Hair, who had already spoken out to say his first email to Cowie "was not a spur-of-the-moment thing", has issued a subsequent statement through his lawyers - intended to "address certain misconceptions that appear to have arisen as a consequence of the release of certain confidential correspondence between Mr Hair and ICC".
It reads: "I was encouraged to make the offer that was disclosed by ICC on August 25.
"During an extended conversation on August 21 with Mr Cowie, I was invited to make a written offer. The figure in the e-mail correspondence was in line with those canvassed with the ICC.
"I would have thought that it was quite apparent from the text of correspondence that I had been in discussions with ICC about the issue. The opening words of my e-mail to Mr Cowie confirm this: 'Just (to) firm up what we discussed earlier this evening ..."
Since disclosing Hair's offer on Friday, the ICC have been at pains to stress that no-one at the global governing body other than former New Zealand umpire Cowie - and certainly not anyone of the standing of chief executive Malcolm Speed - was aware of the official's intentions until viewing the e-mail correspondence.
An ICC spokesman said Sunday: "There were many informal discussions between Mr Hair and Mr Cowie between the end of the Oval Test and Mr Hair's first e-mail on Tuesday, including a discussion on the potential impact on his career.
"Mr Cowie's role was to support and counsel Mr Hair, as his manager, at a difficult time. It is our understanding that at no stage during their conversations was there discussion of a pay-off, nor secrecy, nor deadlines, nor misleading the public over reasons for retirement - all of which was subsequently laid out in Mr Hair's email."
The ICC are to hold an emergency executive board meeting on Saturday at their Dubai headquarters to discuss the situation.
Pakistan's remaining matches on their tour of England were thrown into doubt by the row, with charges of ball-tampering and bringing cricket into disrepute still hanging over captain Inzamam-ul-Haq.
But those charges are now set to be heard after the one-day leg of the tour which is set to begin with a Twenty20 match against England at Bristol on Monday.
(Article: Copyright © 2006 AFP)
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