Harbhajan banned for the rest of IPL season (Second Lead)

April 28th, 2008 - 10:25 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Harbhajan Singh

New Delhi, April 28 (IANS) The Indian Premier League (IPL) Monday fined and banned Mumbai Indians stand-in captain Harbhajan Singh from the remainder of its inaugural edition for slapping Kings XI Punjab pacer S Sreesanth in a league match Friday night. The off-spinner stands to lose over Rs.30 million for his misdemeanour. The off-spinner’s problems are far from over as the Indian cricket board also appointed advocate Sudhir Nanavati of Ahmedabad as the commissioner to inquire into the ’slapping’ case.

Announcing the decision, IPL chairman and commissioner Lalit Modi said Sreesanth had been warned for his aggressive on-field behaviour and the Kerala speedster was told that his actions would be under scrutiny.

The IPL also fined Mumbai Indians manager Lalchand Rajput 50 percent of his match fee for violating the International Cricket Council (ICC) code of conduct by being a passive witness when the incident occurred.

Rajput was found guilty of breaching the spirit of the game as he was a witness to the incident, but didn’t restrain Harbhajan.

“The match referee went through the video footage and found the incident was totally unprovoked. Just after the match, Harbhajan was shaking hands with all Kings XI players and Sreesanth was third among the player. Instead of shaking hands, Harbhajan slapped him and proceeded,” IPL Commissioner Lalit Modi told reporters here while announcing the decision of adjudicator Farokh Engineer.

“He has been found guilty of violating level 4.2 that relates to physical assault on a player on a field which is a very serious offence. He has been banned for the rest of the IPL this season,” Modi added.

Harbhajan was penalised 100 per cent of his Mohali match fee and will not get paid for the rest of the series. He will only be paid for the first two matches.

Both Harbhajan and Sreesanth were present at the hearing. Engineer made them shake hands at the press conference and they then hugged.

“I want to say that I committed a mistake and have been penalised for it. The Board has always supported me and this time also they have taken a good decision,” said Harbhajan.

Harbhajan can appeal against the ban, but he is believed to have decided against it.

Meanwhile, board secretary Niranjan Shah said the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) would conduct an independent inquiry as to what happened in Mohali.

“Nanavati will make a preliminary inquiry and call for explanation from the concerned persons and submit his report within 15 days to Board president Sharad Pawar,” said Shah in a statement Monday.

“On receipt of the report, the President will refer the matter to the disciplinary committee,” Shah added.

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