Harbhajan in trouble for slapping Sreesanth

April 26th, 2008 - 3:58 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Harbhajan Singh

Mohali/New Delhi, April 26 (IANS) An ugly controversy sparked off in the inaugural Indian Premier League (IPL) when Harbhajan Singh reportedly slapped Sreesanth after his Mumbai Indians team were beaten by Kings XI Punjab Friday night. Harbhajan found himself in fresh trouble with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) taking a tough stand on the issue and slapping a show cause notice on the off-spinner.

“The BCCI has taken serious note of the incident between Harbhajan Singh and Sreesanth at Mohali yesterday after the IPL Match,” BCCI secretary Niranjan Shah said in a release.

“The BCCI condemns the behaviour of Harbhajan Singh as a contracted player of the board and he is called upon to explain why disciplinary action should not be taken against him. He has been asked for clarification by Monday evening (April 28),” the release added.

The Kings XI pacer was seen crying inconsolably after his side registered their first win in the Twenty20 league, thumping Mumbai Indians by 66 runs.

However, it later transpired that Harbhajan had been engaged in an altercation with Sreesanth and allegedly slapped him.

BCCI chief administrative officer (CAO) Ratnakar Shetty also condemned the incident, saying: “It was very unfortunate and we don’t think anything of this kind should have happen on the field.

“Physical attack in any form is not acceptable on the field and if the match referee complains, action will be taken against Harbhajan. There is a process in place and action will be taken as per the code applicable.”

Shetty said that the BCCI is yet to receive any official complaint from the Kings XI team management and the show cause notice has been served based on media reports.

IPL commissioner Lalit Modi said they were waiting for the official report of match referee Farokh Engineer.

“The incident is sketchy. There is no clear evidence at this moment. But at the end of the day we have to take cognizance of the fact that it happened on the field.

“We are waiting for the match referee and umpire’s report, only after which we will take a decision. The tournament is being played under the ICC guidelines and any action, if taken, will be under the ICC Code of Conduct. Besides there are also tournament guidelines for the players,” he said.

Harbhajan, on his part denied having slapped Sreesanth.

“I didn’t slap Sreesanth. The media is blowing the issue out of proportion,” Harbhajan told IANS.

“Everything has been sorted out between us. He is like a younger brother to me and I have spoken to him after the match was over last night,” he added.

Kings XI Punjab skipper and Yuvraj Singh though termed the incident as “unfortunate”.

“It was very unfortunate. Harbhajan came to the dressing room and I believe he has apologised to Sreesanth.”

Sreesanth, on the other hand, said he was not contemplating any action against Harbhajan and they have patched-up.

“Nothing happened. It was just a shake hand in the wrong place. Harbhajan is like an elder brother to me,” Sreesanth said.

Since the beginning of his career, Harbhajan has courted several controversies. The recent being the Sydney fiasco where he engaged in a bitter spat with Andrew Symonds.

Harbhajan was handed a ban of three Test matches for racially abusing Symonds by calling him a “big monkey” during the third day of the Second Test at the Sydney Cricket Ground. The BCCI later filed an appeal against the decision following which the ban was lifted and downgraded to 50 percent fine.

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