Cricket: Harbhajan Banned for Three Tests over 'monkey' Row

ABC Online
Sydney, Jan 7: The bad blood between India and Australia is set to continue after the International Cricket Council (ICC) ended the Australian tour for Indian spinner Harbhajan Singh, banning him for three Test matches.

Harbhajan's ban for racially abusing Australia's Andrew Symonds came after an SCG Test which saw Australia's dramatic win marred by a string of bad umpiring decisions.

Many Indian and Australian cricket fans were left with a sour taste in their mouths, and India's captain, Anil Kumble, was certainly unimpressed with Ricky Ponting's team.

At a post-match media conference, he said "only one side" was playing within the spirit of the game.

India's Board for Control for Cricket (BCCI) says it will appeal against the ban, but has denied early reports that India will pull out of the tour.

India's media is providing wall-to-wall coverage of the ICC's decision

Mishra is the chief of the Press Trust of India's sports bureau and says the Indian public feels Harbhajan is being victimised.

"[They feel] this is part of the Australian strategy to go against them because they have been having a running feud with the Indian team, right through the tour against India in October," he said.

"So this has been going on, and this is seen as a deliberate campaign against the Indians, and there is a lot of anger about it."

The ICC's decision to ban Harbhajan came after a marathon eight-hour hearing in Sydney overnight.

The incident in question happened midway through the steadying batting partnership between Harbhajan and India's star Sachin Tendulkar on Friday.

Symonds, who is of Caribbean descent, and Harbhajan appeared to trade insults between overs, and within minutes Australian captain Ricky Ponting reported Harbhajan to the umpires for calling Symonds a "monkey".

Both Indian and Australian fans say the matter should not have gone before the authorities - they say sledging is part of cricket.

Umpiring decisions

India's frustrations have been compounded by bad umpiring decisions that mostly went in Australia's favour.

Man of the match Symonds admitted he was caught behind on 30 during Australia's first innings. The umpire missed it, and Symonds went on to make 162 not out.

At the post-match press conference last night, Kumble said his country would lodge a formal complaint to the ICC.

"I think only one team was playing with the spirit of the game, that's all I can say," he said.

The tensions spilled out into the press conference, with a heated exchange between Ponting and an Indian journalist.

"And I think, if you're questioning my integrity in the game, then you shouldn't be standing here," Ponting said.

Mr Mishra says it is an understatement to say Indians are unhappy.

And he says India has requested that umpire Steve Bucknor not be used for the remainder of the tour.

"I'm told from my sources that the ICC will definitely not put him on duty for the remaining matches - definitely not in Perth," he said.

BCCI to appeal against Harbhajan ban: Team Manager 

Sydney, Jan 7: Indian Team Manager, Chetan Chauhan, reacting to the ban imposed on Harbhajan Singh, said that BCCI would appeal the decision. He however ruled out India withdrawing from the series.

He said that the written decision was not yet received, the appeal would be lodged as soon as the written order is received early Monday morning.

He categorically said that the management believed injustice has been done to the off spinner and would represent the same to the ICC.

An agreement with regard to catches, in which the fielding team’s captain would be authorized to declare if the catch was taken was entered into before the test, he said. But the catch decision in which Ganguly had been given out was clearly a wrong decision.

He said that the BCCI would not only appeal the match ban but also the bad umpiring decisions seen throughout the tests.

Rajiv Shukla, Vice President BCCI also reiterated that the management would lodge a strong protest against the decision to ban Harbhajan and would also demand that umpire Steve Bucknor be removed from officiating in the rest of the series.

Meanwhile, the Indians have also filed a complaint against Australian spinner Brad Hogg for using abusive language during the ill-tempered second cricket Test. 


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Comment on this article

  • sudeep, Udupi

    Tue, Jan 08 2008

    Latest news is that Monkeys in Australia are going to start 'massive protest' for comparing them to Symonds.

    DisAgree Agree Reply Report Abuse

  • Purushottama, Byndoor

    Mon, Jan 07 2008

    Bhajji's mistake seems that while lot of people were monkeying around ( as was obvious from the ultimate result) how he could confer the priveleged title of monkey on only one person ignoring other equally deserving persons! Each dog.. I mean .. each monkey has its own day and it is what that is being proved there in Australia now.But we have a tradition of taming monkey army ( Vaanara Sena )for behaving in a disciplined manner which they should not forget!

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  • Saif, Udupi/UAE

    Mon, Jan 07 2008

    Yes .! there is no matter of banned Harbhjan there is matter of wrong decision of umpire . We should write against Umpire for his bad decision.

    DisAgree Agree Reply Report Abuse

  • Dinesh Kumar, Mangalore/Sharjah

    Mon, Jan 07 2008

    Marathon eight hour hearing in Sydney to victimise bhajji? To prove a monkey is a monkey, any doubts? his team mates along with him do monkey bussiness.

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  • bharath shetty, kateel

    Mon, Jan 07 2008

    Hahaha..very true....It should be "India Tigers VS Aussie Monkeys"

    DisAgree Agree Reply Report Abuse

  • Auldius Pais, Mangalore/Mangalore

    Mon, Jan 07 2008

    Ponting is scared of facing Harbhajan's bowling. So he has engineered this coup

    DisAgree Agree Reply Report Abuse

  • Naveen Frank, Mangalore/ Sharjah

    Mon, Jan 07 2008

    It is alleged that Harbhajan Singh called Symmonds a monkey. When the whole Australian team, including the two umpires and the match referee acted like a pack of monkeys, what is the harm in singling out one !

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Title: Cricket: Harbhajan Banned for Three Tests over 'monkey' Row

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