ICC bans Harbhajan Singh for 3 Tests matches

Jan. 6: India's off spinner Harbhajan Singh was banned for three Tests for calling Andrew Symonds a "monkey" which was intended to offend the Australian all rounder on the basis of race and ethnic origin, according to ICC match referee Mike Procter.

Explaining the ban imposed on Harbhajan at Sydney on Sunday night, the ICC said in a statement that the ban would apply with immediate effect but the player could lodge an appeal with the ICC's legal counsel within 24 hours. While the appeal is under consideration, Harbhajan could continue playing for India.

The BCCI said it would lodge an appeal.

The Indians also made a formal complaint against Australian spinner Brad Hogg for using abusive language during the ill-tempered second Test, giving a new twist to the simmering feud between the two sides. The hearing into the charge will be held on Monday.

"I am satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt that Harbhajan Singh directed that word at Andrew Symonds and also that he meant it to offend on the basis of Symonds' race or ethnic origin," Procter was quoted as saying in the ICC press release.

The charge was laid by umpires Mark Benson and Steve Bucknor after the close of play on day three of the match following a complaint they received from Australian captain Ricky Ponting after the 116th over of India's first innings, prior to which Harbhajan was alleged to have made a "monkey" comment directed at Symonds.

The Indian team's media manager, M.V. Sridhar said both sides were together during the hearing. "We are extremely disappointed since we feel that there is no evidence against Harbhajan," Sridhar said.

The three match ban came as a surprise for the Indians as both the on field umpires had gone on record as saying that they had not heard anything offensive being said.

The Indian team ruled out calling off the rest of the tour but demanded that the two umpires should not stand in the remaining matches.

Between them, Messrs Steve Bucknor and Mark Benson got as many 12 decisions wrong, an unacceptably high number, and that in the end, allowed Australia to eke out a 16th straight Test victory with at least 7 balls remaining in the game.

  • Over 13.1, Ricky Ponting on 17 caught behind off Sourav Ganguly but given not out by Mark Benson. Australia 45/2
  • Over 29.5, Ponting given out lbw by Benson off thick inside-edge to Harbhajan Singh. 118/3
  • Over 46.4, Andrew Symonds on 30 caught behind off Ishant Sharma, given not out by Bucknor. 193/6
  • Over 55.3, Symonds on 48 stumped off Harbhajan. Third umpire Oxenford rules him not out. 238/6
  • Over 73.3, Symonds on 106 lbw off Kumble. Benson rules not out. 314/7
  • Over 101.5, Symonds on 148 stumped off Harbhajan. Not even referred to TV umpire by Bucknor. 421/7
  • Over 12.3 Laxman on 16 lbw off Lee. Benson rules not out. India 25/1 ? Over 78.2 Sachin on 36 lbw off Clarke. Ruled not out by Benson. 293/3
  • Over 41.1, Mike Hussey on 22 lbw to Kumble. Benson rules not out. Australia 133/2
  • Over 53.4, Hussey on 45. caught behind off R.P. Singh. Benson rule not out. 188/2
  • Over 33.1, Dravid on 38 ruled out caught behind off Symonds by Bucknor.
  • Over 40.2, Ganguly on 51, caught by Clarke off the ground. Benson rules out without referring to TV umpire.


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