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Last Updated: Saturday, 26 August 2006, 08:59 GMT 09:59 UK
Team vindicated, Pakistanis say
Hair inspects the ball with Inzamam-ul-Haq
Mr Hair (second left) offered to resign for a cash settlement
Pakistanis believe their cricket team are innocent of accusations of cheating amid controversy over umpire Darrell Hair's resignation offer.

Pakistan were accused of tampering with the ball during a five-day test at the Oval in London last week. The row ended with the game being forfeited.

Former Pakistan cricketers say the revelation Mr Hair offered to resign for cash has vindicated the team.

Pakistan's team said on Friday they would play their remaining matches.

'Poor judgement'

Mr Hair sent an e-mail to the sport's governing body in which he asked for $500,000 (265,000) to resign following the ball-tampering row.

The BBC's Dan Isaacs in Islamabad said Pakistanis believed Mr Hair's "setting financial terms for his resignation simply proves that his judgement is as poor off the field as it is on it".

Our correspondent said Pakistani fast bowler Sarfraz Nawaz said it was for Mr Hair to come out and apologise not only to the team but to the whole Pakistani nation.

He added that the Pakistan sports ministry had said if there was proof that the Pakistani team had tampered with the ball - an illegal method to alter the flight of the ball in order to assist the bowling side - then it needed to be made public.

The team are committed to fulfilling their obligations
Pakistan board chairman Shahriyar Khan

Pakistan reaffirmed their commitment to the one-day series with England following the publication of Darrell Hair's resignation offer, lifting an earlier threat of a boycott.

Pakistan board chairman Shahriyar Khan said: "The team are committed to fulfilling their obligations."

The team's captain, Inzamam ul-Haq, still faces an inquiry in late September from the sport's governing body, the International Cricket Council (ICC), over accusations of ball-tampering and bringing the game into disrepute.

But a former head of the Pakistan cricket Board, Chishty Mujahid, told BBC Radio Five Live said the row over Mr Hair may effect the investigation.

"This has put a new twist in the tail and now the ball tampering... the bringing the game into disrepute charges against Inzamam-ul-Haq are becoming irrelevant and I think Inzamam must be smiling to himself."

'Increasingly untenable'

Pakistan play their first one-day match, a 20-20 against England in Bristol, on Monday.

The BBC's Sydney correspondent Phil Mercer said support from Australian media - which had been solid earlier in the week - was now looking less certain following the revelations of Mr Hair's financial offer.

"One cricket commentator on the radio today, a very respected man, was saying that Darrell Hair's position looked increasingly untenable," our correspondent said.

Pakistan team manager Zaheer Abbas and cricket board chairman Shaharyar Khan
Pakistan team manager Zaheer Abbas (left) has defended the team

One of Mr Hair's friends defended Mr Hair's attitude, telling the BBC the money would have been tantamount to a superannuation package.

"There's nothing that Darrell will do if he does retire ... he's a good bloke, he's an honest bloke, and he calls a spade a spade," he said.

David Frith, the former editor of the cricketing magazine Wisden Monthly, told BBC Radio 4's Today programme he believed the ICC had acted irresponsibly" by releasing details of Mr Hair's e-mail.

"They've released for public delectation a series of confidential e-mails which were I think intended by Darrell Hair to offset any difficulties down the road.

"He's given them an out if they want it, but he's standing by his decision at The Oval."

He said any evidence of ball tampering lay with the ball Pakistan had been using, and said it was a mistake for the ICC to delay its investigation into the accusations.




SEE ALSO
Full text of Darrell Hair e-mail
25 Aug 06 |  Cricket
Inzamam case off until September
25 Aug 06 |  England
How Hair courts controversy
21 Aug 06 |  England
Cricket's stigma
21 Aug 06 |  Laws & Equipment

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