Anxious wait for Harbhajan

April 27th, 2008 - 6:23 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Harbhajan Singh

New Delhi, April 27 (IANS) Temperamental off-spinner Harbhajan Singh will have a long agonising day Monday, as he appears at a disciplinary hearing here to explain his stand on the controversy involving Sreesanth. The Indian Premier League has made it clear in no uncertain terms that it would not tolerate such behaviour from players. That IPL has found some incriminating evidence against Harbhajan can be gauged by the fact that they acted so swiftly in temporarily banning him Saturday night.

Noose seemed to be tightened around Harbhajan as the decision taken by IPL commissioner and chairman Lalit Modi was based on prima facie video evidence as seen and reviewed by match referee Farokh Engineer from the tapes provided by host broadcaster Sony and TWI.

Engineer went through the tapes Saturday moments after Kings XI team lodged a complaint against Harbhajan saying the physical assault on Sreesanth Friday was “unprovoked” and against the “spirit of the game.”

Engineer said he is not going to “sweep things under the carpet”, if Harbhajan is found guilty.

“The complaint has to be carefully examined before any decision is made. Everything possible will be done to adjudicate it immediately,” Engineer said saturday.

Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) too is seriously pursuing the case and has already issued a show cause notice to the off-spinner. Harbhajan has been an embarrassment for the Board, which have time and again saved him from repeated offences in international matches.

Harbhajan has been charged of level 4 offence under International Cricket Council (ICC) Code of Conduct and he might face a suspension of five Tests to 10 One-Day International (ODI), if found guilty.

“Harbhajan will be accompanied by Mumbai Indians coach Lalchand Rajput and its team manager at the hearing as asked by the adjudicator,” IPL Sunday said in a statement.

For Kings XI Punjab, complainant and chief executive officer (CEO) Neil Maxwell, skipper Yuvraj Singh and the man in the middle of the controversy Sreesanth will be present.

“Also present at the hearing would be Modi, IPL Chairman and the BCCI Legal counsel,” the release said.

Both sides have been permitted to bring in witnesses, if they wish to.

Harbhajan and Sreesanth, though, have tried their best to downplay the incident.

Sreesanth, who was seen crying a like child on the field after Harbhajan allegedly slapped him, said the off-spinner is like an elder brother and it was not a slap, but a “handshake that fell on the wrong place.”

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