Sydney: Harbhajan Cleared of 'Racist Gestures'


Sydney, Mar 4: Indian spinner Harbhajan Singh was cleared on Monday of making racist gestures and spitting at fans during his team's one-day win over Australia on Sunday.

Harbhajan was crucial in Sunday's victory that gave India a 1-0 lead in the tri-series finals, claiming the key wickets of Andrew Symonds and Matthew Hayden.

However, it was then claimed in the local media that he made monkey gestures by scratching his armpits with both hands in a similar fashion to Indian fans taunting Symonds last year, then spat at the crowd.

Indian officials leapt to his defence and match referee Jeff Crowe, who investigated the claims, found no evidence to support the allegations.

"I have investigated the alleged incident with Cricket Australia's ground security officials after reading newspaper reports and viewing related photographs that have been published," Crowe said.

"After reviewing all available information, I conclude that there is no need to take any action against Harbhajan Singh." Harbhajan was suspended for three Tests after January's second Test at the Sydney Cricket Ground for allegedly calling Symonds a monkey, a suspension that was overturned at a subsequent International Cricket Council hearing.

Indian team manager Bimal Soni condemned the reports prior to Crowe's investigation.

"I think it is wrong," Soni said. "Nothing has been done like that, they are making a mountain out of a molehill. "He did nothing. These stories, I do not believe them and I strongly condemn them."

Australian batsman Mike Hussey said he knew nothing of the allegations, but added that he was sick of all the controversies of a testing summer.

"I think the Australian and Indian public have had enough of all the controversy," he said. "We just want to concentrate on the cricket."


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Title: Sydney: Harbhajan Cleared of 'Racist Gestures'

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