Adelaide, Jan 29: The charge of racist abuse against Harbhajan Singh has been lifted. The spinner has, instead, been charged with abuse, a level 2 charge that merely entails a fine.
New Zealand judge John Hansen, the ICC-appointed commissioner hearing the BCCI appeal against match referee Mike Procter's earlier verdict against Singh, has fined the off spinner 50 per cent of his match fees for the Sydney Test.
All parties will likely be satisfied with the outcome. Australia had insisted that the spinner should not be totally exonerated. India had insisted that it would not accept a racism charge against Harbhajan, with senior player Sachin Tendulkar maintaining that Singh had not said anything racist to Andrew Symonds during their confrontation in Sydney. And the ICC wants the controversy ended, and the tour to proceed.
Earlier, the Indian and Australian teams had reportedly agreed to drop the charges of racism against Harbhajan.
Sachin Tendulkar and Ricky Ponting had, according to word coming out of Adelaide, written a joint letter to ICC-appointed commissioner John Hansen, the New Zealand judge hearing the appeal, to reduce charges against the Indian off-spinner.