Sydney: BCCI Suspends Australian Tour Pending Appeal

Anjali Doshi/NDTV
With PTI Inputs

Sydney, Jan 7: In the face of the ongoing controversy, the BCCI has decided to suspend the Australian tour of Team India.

Earlier, the Board had advised the Indian cricket team to stay on in Sydney and not to fly to Canberra, as scheduled earlier, for a practice match.

The BCCI, which held a meeting at the New Delhi residence of President Sharad Pawar said that the team will stay in Sydney till formalities on Brad Hogg and Bhajji inquiries get over.

The BCCI Working Committee will meet in New Delhi on Tuesday to discuss the matter further.

After the meeting, Vice President Rajiv Shukla told reporters the BCCI has officially asked ICC to drop Steve Bucknor as the umpire from the next Test starting from January 16. BCCI's Niranjan Shah spoke to Doug Cowie, Manager of the ICC Umpires Panel in this connection.

The team, meanwhile, will stay on in Sydney on Monday night and will file an appeal against the match referee's decision to ban Harbhajan for three Tests.

The off-spinner will file the appeal as per ICC rules, and the BCCI says it will extend full support to him.

The Team Management will also lodge a complaint against Brad Hogg, who allegedly abused Indian players.

Earlier, Board Vice President said in New Delhi that BCCI will appeal to ICC to withdraw racism charge against Harbhajan. Shukla added that the BCCI considers the ban on Harbhjan Singh as 'unfair' and 'unacceptable'.

Harbhajan has been banned for three Tests for making racial taunts against Andrew Symonds during the second Test between India and Australia.

Match Referee Mike Procter upheld the Australian charge that Harbhajan had racially abused their all-rounder Andrew Symonds.

Procter gave a marathon four-hour hearing to Harbhajan, who denied the charge and was supported by skipper Anil Kumble, Sachin Tendulkar, manager Chetan Chauhan and media manager M V Sridhar during the deliberations.

Procter also heard Symonds, who was backed by Australian captain Ricky Ponting, Adam Gilchrist, Matthew Hayden, Michael Clarke along with team manager Steve Bernard, who attended the hearing to testify against the Indian spinner.

The offence falls under 3.3 of the ICC Code of Conduct which refers to players or team officials "using language or gestures that offends, insults, humiliates, intimidates, threatens, disparages or vilifies another person on the basis of that person's race, religion, gender, colour, descent, or national or ethic origin."

The appeal will be made to the Commissioner of Appeals and pending the appeal, the off-spinner can continue to play.

In accordance to the Code of Conduct, the maximum penalty that could have been imposed for this offence was a ban of four Test matches or eight one-day internationals.

BCCI's Chief Administrative Manager Ratnakar Shetty said it was an "unfortunate" development. "There was no evidence against Harbhajan so I don't know how they could arrive at such a conclusion."

When asked what the Aussies brought to the hearing, which resulted in a verdict in their favour, Shetty said "we are not concerned about what the Australians think."

Harbhajan Singh's mother is also upset with latest controversy and has reacted to the ICC's decision.

"It's not fair at all. My son wasn't the only one wrong and that's why it is not fair at all. They have gone to play there, and the other players should be punished as well if they have made a mistake," said Avtar Kaur, Harbhajan Singh's mother.

The off-spinner vehemently denied saying anything racial during the altercation.


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Comment on this article

  • M Sunil, Bangalore

    Tue, Jan 08 2008

    The Bajji controversy is only to cover up and take the glare away from the match fixing done with the umpires. The Australians have forgotten what is honesty and fair play. The Tour needs to be cancelled and no more further ties with Australia [with respect to Cricket]

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  • Nelson Lewis, Karkala/Bombay/Kingdom of Bahrain

    Tue, Jan 08 2008

    Over the years, readers who have read my comments may be well aware that I am always critical about BCCI, its composition, functioning, etc. On the decision of BCCI to suspend the Australian tour till its appeal is heard and the ban of Harbhajan Singh revoked, I whole-heartedly support it.

    I am very happy by the stand taken by BCCI and it should completely call off the tour if Harbhajan Singh's suspension is not withdrawn and moreover Steve Bucknor is not allowed to officiate in test or one day internationals in which India plays. As far as Steve Bucknor is considered, he is prejudiced against India.

    If Steve Bucknor has any conscience, it is high time that he retires and vanishes in thin air. Everyone knows that white Australians are very racist to people who are browns and blacks. Moreover, everyone also knows that Australian cricketers are the masters of sledging and racial slurs and if Andrew Symonds is accusing Harbhajan Singh of passing a racist comment, this must be a height of joke.

    Moreover, what proof is there to say that Harbhajan Singh has passed a racist remark? The credibility of Mike Procter is also at stake, because he has patiently heard Andrew Symonds accusations (against Harbhajan Singh) and accepted the backing given to him by Ricky Ponting, Matthew Hayden, Adam Gilchrist and Michael Clarke.

    However, he has not considered the defence of Harbhajan Singh by Anil Kumble, Sachin Tendulkar, manager Chetan Chauhan and media manager M V Sridhar during the deliberations. In fact, both Anil Kumble and Sachin Tendulkar are one of the finest people amongst contemporary international cricketers and I wonder if any one of the present eleven Australian cricketers are better gentlemen than these two guys. In fact, Sachin Tendulkar is a simple and a well behaved person and Mike Procter should have considered this fact too.

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    Tue, Jan 08 2008

    Bravo..BCCI, Right decision..keep it up.

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  • Charles D'Mello, Pangala

    Tue, Jan 08 2008

    Ignore The Australians, If they think they can getaway by any allegations they think. Do Not bend. In My opinion Australians are racists?! Ignore them.Cancel the tour and come back.

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  • E Sylva, Mangalore/Mumbai

    Tue, Jan 08 2008

    So saying 'monkey'is racist- wonderful so if the aussies are called 'kangaroos' that too will be racist. if as it has been mentioned by the most famous cricket writer that the aussie team has been turned into 'wild dogs', that too is racist. and what about the little dog in their midst- Michael Clarke called 'pup'- that is not racism but fun.

    Come on are we to believe Ricky Ponting who is seen on television justifying a grassed catch (of Dhoni)as a legitimate catch. or of Michael Clarke and Ponting justifying the Ganguly catch that Sunil Gavaskar rightly pointed out was grassed as clarke was tumblings. We saw his arrogance at the press conference too as if he owned cricket Australia. and to crown it all the match referee is trying to paint Tendulkar as a liar. ICC-why not try Mikes on the lapels of all cricketers so that everything is recorded- the truth will surely come out in a short time that the Aussies are uncouth unsporting and much more.

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  • allwyn thomas pais, mira road/dubai

    Fri, Jan 11 2008

    Frstly many congratulations to ausralia for retaining the border gavaskar trophy,million thanks to mr steve bucknor,especially and final toches from mr benson,for helping aussies to retain that. heartfelt sympathies to indian team despite playing with great sportsman spirit they failed to win.  Doesn't matter atleast they played honestly and proved that cricket is gentlemans game.

    Indian country is cricket fanatic.  Aussies have deliberately made Bhajji the scape goat. BBCI should not waste time in calling off the tour.   Whats the use of playing cricket like what we saw at Sydney? Aussies cannot accept defeat.   I being an indian fully support Bhajji,he is not at fault. Prove his mistake and then punish. The whole country is saddened by this attitude of Aussies i

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  • Thanzeel Moosa, Kuwait

    Tue, Jan 08 2008

    India should not change its mind, the team should come back. ICC always prefer Australia/England and tries to obstruct Asian teams.

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  • Ram Nambiar, Kannur

    Tue, Jan 08 2008

    Suspend the tour and come back for the sake 1.2 billions Indians. Aussies are not playing but cheating with the help of disgraced umpires.

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    Fri, Jan 11 2008

    Good decision.somebody should teach the lesson to this team  I am proud it is INDIA.

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  • Alphonso D Souza, Mangalore / Dubai

    Fri, Jan 11 2008

    BCCI should have acted aggressively even before the media and TV channels prompted them to do so. Knowing Australians, myself, they are a heavy headed and extra proud people do not care others' sentiments. It's a welcome decision by BCCCI to suspend the tour.

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    Tue, Jan 08 2008

    Good decision.  Somebody should teach a lesson to this team.  I am proud it is INDIA.

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  • jamil ahmed, bangalore/tripoli

    Tue, Jan 08 2008

    Excellent decision.  Chakde team India

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  • Rafi Ahmad Ali, Mangalore, at Riyadh K S A

    Mon, Jan 07 2008

    Right decision belatedly. India should suspend the Tour to honour the Cricket otherwise Australians will carry it as granted.

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