CRICKET NSW chief executive David Gilbert said he would be happy to smoke the peace pipe with Brett Lee but added it was important Cricket Australia took action.
They are at loggerheads after the fast bowler's call that Gilbert - and not former coach Anthony Stuart - should have been sacked in light of the NSW team's poor performances, leading to Lee copping two charges under Cricket Australia's code of conduct. Lee, 36, who plays for the Sydney Sixers, is no longer a NSW state player.
''I have been racking my brain as to why Brett feels so angry and upset with me and the comments weren't just directed at me, they were directed at Cricket NSW,'' Gilbert said.
''That's a point that needs to be made very clearly and that's why our board has made the decision it has done - the rule is very clear, you can't make detrimental public comment that denigrates a state association, or Cricket Australia or ICC.
''That's why the board had to take the action it did. Not to have taken the action would have been weak and sent a terrible message to the rest of the playing group that 'guys, say whatever you want because there'll be no consequences'.''
It is the first time in his 11 years as CEO Gilbert has reported a player.
''I can only put it down to a disagreement we had 12 months ago. He hadn't played for two months and hadn't proven his fitness in match conditions. As a former fast bowler I think I'm in a good position to know nets bear little or no consequence to bowling in a match. Match conditions are the perfect environment for you to test your fitness after injury.
''Brett was indignant about being asked to do that although that was a process every other player has to subscribe to and every other player we'd asked to do it had done that.''
When asked what Lee's punishment should be, Gilbert said: ''It's not up to me. The case could be thrown out. It still has to be proven. I'm just hoping once it is all said and done normal service can be resumed and Brett and NSW Cricket can smoke the peace pipe. I would like to think we can move on.
''The reality is from my point of view I disagree with his comments. I have been involved in this game for 30 years as a player, a coach and an administrator, and you are always going to have times when there are people who'll be gunning for you for whatever reason and if I can't stand the heat, well, I shouldn't be in the kitchen. You won't always win popularity contests …
''That was a tough decision with Anthony Stuart, one of the saddest days I have had in this job because you wouldn't meet a nicer bloke or a more passionate bloke or more committed guy who wanted it so badly to work for the NSW team.''