Harbhajan banned, Sreesanth warned in slapping incident(Lead)

May 14th, 2008 - 11:37 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Harbhajan Singh

Mumbai, May 14 (IANS) The Indian cricket board Wednesday banned off-spinner Harbhajan Singh for five one-dayers, and let off pacer Santhakumaran Sreesanth with a warning for the slapping incident in an Indian Premier League (IPL) match at Mohali. Harbhajan slapped Sreesanth after an IPL match between Kings XI Punjab and Mumbai Indians April 25, kicking off a controversy.

The off-spinner, who has already been barred for the rest of the inaugural IPL season by the organisers, escaped a severe punishment from the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) after he admitted his fault and assured that he would not repeat such acts of indiscipline.

The decision to ban Harbhajan was taken by the BCCI disciplinary committee headed by its chief Sharad Pawar after the board-appointed inquiry commissioner Sudhir Nanavati submitted his report. Board’s president-elect Shashank Manohar and vice-president Chirayu Amin are the other members of the disciplinary committee.

Harbhajan met the disciplinary committee and pleaded guilty of misdemeanour.

“The Committee has decided to ban Harbhajan Singh for five one-day internationals, starting May 14 and that any further instance of misconduct will invoke a life-ban,” the BCCI said in a statement.

Harbhajan will miss the tri-series in Bangladesh and also the first two games of the Asia Cup in Pakistan next month.

The committee invoked rule 3.2.1 of the BCCI regulations for players, team officials, managers, umpires and administrators. Under this provision, the maximum punishment that can be meted out to a player is a “ban up to a maximum of five ODIs or three Test matches.”

Sreesanth was sent a letter by the BCCI, warning him to mend his on-field behaviour. The letter said: “The Board can take appropriate decision in the event he does not improve his behaviour.”

Harbhajan has also been involved in a number of on-field spats and has faced punishment from match-referees on many occasions.

The latest was the Sydney controversy in January in which Andrew Symonds accused the off-spinner of racially abusing him. Harbhajan was banned for three Tests by the match referee Mike Procter, but following an uproar in India the BCCI lodged an appeal and the Harbhajan’s punishment was downgraded only to a fine of his match fee.

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