Umpire still has future, say ICC

Speed wants umpire to stand again as long hearing looms
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Darrell Hair was offered reason to believe yesterday that he could salvage his umpiring career. The Australian at the centre of the cricket-ball tampering scandal looked to be finished after it was revealed on Friday that he had asked his employers, the International Cricket Council, via email for a one-off payment of $500,000 (£265,000) in return for his immediate resignation as a "lifestyle choice".

Malcolm Speed, the ICC's chief executive, said yesterday: "I hope that we can find a way for Darrell Hair to continue as an umpire. He is one of the top two, three or four in the world.

We will have to let a little time pass." Preparations for a disciplinary hearing are proceeding after the dramatic and unprecedented events last Sunday in the Fourth Test at The Oval, which resulted in Pakistan being deemed to have forfeited the match. The Pakistan captain, Inzamam-ul-Haq, would face two charges: ball-tampering and bringing the game into disrepute. If the hearing does go ahead it is likely be a long-drawn-out affair involving 35 witnesses and lasting at least three days.

The ICC's executive board will meet in Dubai next Saturday. Speed said: "My view is that the charges should go ahead. The meeting has not been called to throw them out, but that might be discussed."