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Friday, 30 November, 2001, 14:48 GMT
Speed: A man for all problems
Malcolm Speed
Malcolm Speed: The ICC's resolute man in charge
After the ICC wins a battle of wills with the Indian cricket board, BBC Sport Online profiles chief executive Malcolm Speed.

When the International Cricket Council appointed Australian Malcolm Speed, they knew they were getting a man with a reputation for keeping his head in a crisis.

They also knew that Speed was a man with the will to win an argument, even in the most difficult circumstances.

So it proved as the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) agreed to drop batsman Virender Sehwag from their squad for the first Test against England.

Speed was the winner in a game of brinkmanship with BCCI president Jagmohan Dalmiya, as England stood ready to fly home rather than take part in a non-sanctioned game with Sehwag in the Indian side.

But perhaps it is no surprise, for his CV covers just about every problem that could arise for any chief executive in any walk of life let alone cricket.

From corruption to bad language to sex to pay disputes to alcohol to media controversy to behavioural problems, Speed had plenty to occupy his time during a four-year tenure as chief executive of the Australian Cricket Board.

He is credited with developing Australia's governing body into an efficient, well organised and modern set up. A sort of board room Steve Waugh.

Quick to act

The 52-year-old's approach to the variety of problems he faced in Australia was not always been greeted with universal approval, but he was never slow to act.

One major controversy was the Mark Waugh/Shane Warne affair when it was disclosed that the pair had received money from bookmakers in return for information.

Speed was not at the ACB in 1994 when the board fined the players but opted not to make the revelations public.

Malcolm Speed
In the spotlight: Speed is used to media attention

Towards the end of 1998, allegations of supposed wrong doing by Australian players was attracting media attention and so the ACB went public to much national hand wringing.

Speed, by now chief executive, described the board's previous action as "clearly inappropriate" and was in a position to distance himself from the initial handling of the affair.

His handling of the situation was impressive, the only question is to whether his ACB would have made the affair public had the media not been on the verge of discovering it.

More recently, Speed threatened to drop Mark Waugh from the Australian side unless he agreed to speak to Sir Paul Condon, head of the ICC's anti-corruption unit.

International scale

It was a tough stance and one that fully backed the ICC.

Speed also had to deal with Ricky Ponting's well-publicised drink incident, the Warne 'phone sex' furore, a players' pay settlement and several incidents of players being accused of throwing.

The manner in which he dealt with many of those won him admirers, as did his development of the ACB itself.

Malcolm Speed with Steve Waugh at Lord's after winning the World Cup
Speed and Waugh with the World Cup

"Under him the ACB has progressed into a very pro-active and professional organisation," said Tony Dodemaide, now head of cricket at the MCC.

Speed was appointed chief executive at the ACB after a successful spell in a similar position with the Australian National Basketball League and Basketball Australia.

When younger he played lower grade club cricket, but it as an administrator that he has made his name.

Strong character

He succeeded Dave Richards as ICC chief in July and has now passed the first major test of his authority.

ICC match referee Mike Denness
Mike Denness: His actions led to controversy

When the Indians portests about six of their players being disciplined by Mike Denness after the Port Elizabeth Test against South Africa earlier this month, Speed backed the match referee to the hilt.

When Denness was removed from his position for the next match at Centurion by the United Cricket Board of South Africa, the ICC declared the game an unofficial Test and insisted that Sehwag's ban would be carried over into the series against England.

Despiute being eager to prevent the series being cancelled after Sehwag was named in the squad for the first Test by the Indian selectors, Speed was resolute that Sehwag would not play.

And although the ICC has offered to review the way Denness conducted his hearing in Port Elizabeth, Speed got his way.

For those who have dealt with him in the past, that will come as no surprise.

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